Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls for Stronger Privacy Regulations Following 'Dire' Facebook Data Scandal

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Apple CEO Tim Cook attended the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, during which he called for stronger data privacy regulations following the "dire" Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal (via Bloomberg). Last week, it was revealed that the social network let Cambridge Analytica amass data on 50 million Facebook users without their consent, in an effort to target messages to voters during the 2016 presidential election.

Photo of Tim Cook by Giulia Marchi via Bloomberg


On the topic, Cook called for "well-crafted regulation" to protect users:
"I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary," Cook said after being asked if the use of data should be restricted in light of the Facebook incident. "The ability of anyone to know what you've been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life -- from my own point of view it shouldn't exist."
Cook went on by stating that Apple has "worried for a number of years" that something like the recent Facebook data scandal might happen. "Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once," he said.
"We've worried for a number of years that people in many countries were giving up data probably without knowing fully what they were doing and that these detailed profiles that were being built of them, that one day something would occur and people would be incredibly offended by what had been done without them being aware of it," he said. "Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once."
A #DeleteFacebook campaign arose quickly on Twitter following news of Cambridge Analytica's actions, which WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton took part in. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made an official statement on the events this past week, saying that the company has "a responsibility to protect your data," and that if it can't "then we don't deserve to serve you." He continued, "We also made mistakes, there's more to do, and we need to step up and do it."

Repercussions have begun to hit Facebook, including a lawsuit from Facebook shareholder Fan Yuan, who alleged the company had some knowledge of Cambridge Analytica's data siphoning and made "materially false and/or misleading" claims regarding Facebook's handling of user data. The first step Facebook has taken to attempt to address the issue is a new tool at the top of the News Feed which will let people see which apps have their info and offer up an easy way to revoke permissions.

In other topics at the Beijing forum on Saturday, Tim Cook also briefly touched upon the recent decision by President Trump to place tariffs on Chinese goods. Although the details on the tariffs have yet to be finalized by the U.S. government, Cook said: "The countries that embrace openness do exceptional and the countries that don't, don't...It's not a matter of carving things up between sides. I'm going to encourage that calm heads prevail."

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Article Link: Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls for Stronger Privacy Regulations Following 'Dire' Facebook Data Scandal
 
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TonyC28

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Aug 15, 2009
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Give people information. They can decide if they want to delete Facebook. Facebook is voluntary and people need to understand they are putting their lives on the Internet if they so choose. More government regulation/control isn’t the answer. When people start leaving Facebook change will happen.

Tim Cook should understand this better than anyone. People trust Apple because Apple goes above and beyond with privacy and the government didn’t make them do that.
 

sirozha

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2008
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How about removing integration with FaceBook from macOS, Tim?

Ten years ago I said that FaceBook was the worst invention the 21st century. Now ten years later, people are realizing that the thousands of hours of their lives they have wasted on FaceBook have been methodically harvested and organized into actionable data. So, it's a double whammy: folks have wasted thousands of hours and have turned themselves into a product that FaceBook is now marketing and selling to the highest bider. The sad part is that this cannot be undone.
 

east85

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Jun 24, 2010
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Does that mean he is now willing to walk his talk and pull back iCloud data from the hands of the Chinese?
“From my American mindset, I believe strongly in freedom. They are at the core of what being an American is. But I also know that every country in the world decides their laws and regulations,” Cook said at the Fortune Global Forum in China in December in front of an audience of business executives from around the world.

“Your choice is—do you participate, or do you stay on the sideline and yell how things should be? My view is that you show up and you participate, because nothing ever changes from sidelines,” Cook said.


While the situation is obviously not ideal in China, I think he's in the right here. You need to have a seat at the table if you want to have that discussion.

I'm really glad to hear he's made a statement about this. Apple should be recognized for the way they fight for user privacy and reform when possible. Cook seems to have been particularly active in taking up that seat in the US recently, actively engaging with senators and making appearances in Washington. This is the kind of discussion we need to have and this kind of leadership is commendable IMO.
 

Will.O.Bie

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Aug 29, 2016
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Give people information. They can decide if they want to delete Facebook. Facebook is voluntary and people need to understand they are putting their lives on the Internet if they so choose. More government regulation/control isn’t the answer. When people start leaving Facebook change will happen.

Tim Cook should understand this better than anyone. People trust Apple because Apple goes above and beyond with privacy and the government didn’t make them do that.
I completely agree, that's why I have deleted all my social media except IG, which might be going out soon. I don't wanna sound anti-social but the more you put out there, the more you're susceptible to data harvesting and ad tracking. Once it's out there, there's no getting it back and can't blame the medium for exposing you to such invasion of privacy. Putting too much trust in one company to protect your privacy is a mistake. I know I trust Apple enough to protect it but I also know the risks that comes with that. It is not private once you have posted your info, pics, tweets, comments, etc. I have also removed geotagging from my pics. Unless I want to specifically say where I went, no company should know my whereabouts.

Essentially, people have to control themselves on putting way too much about them online. The best way to protect your privacy is the decision you make when you post something.
 

Naraxus

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2016
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How cute. Timmy once again talking tough & posturing all the while leaving out that his company just handed over millions upon millions of personal data to an authoritarian dictatorship.

The countries that embrace openness do exceptional and the countries that don't, don't...It's not a matter of carving things up between sides. I'm going to encourage that calm heads prevail.
Of course you will Timmy. If cooler heads don't prevail it could mean the end of your slave labor.
 
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H2SO4

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Nov 4, 2008
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How about removing integration with FaceBook from macOS, Tim?

Ten years ago I said that FaceBook was the worst invention the 21st century. Now ten years later, people are realizing that the thousands of hours of their lives they have wasted on FaceBook have been methodically harvested and organized into actionable data. So, it's a double whammy: folks have wasted thousands of hours and have turned themselves into a product that FaceBook is now marketing and selling to the highest bider. The sad part is that this cannot be undone.
BOOM! this.
Apple slated Google for years and still use their services.
 

dogslobber

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Oct 19, 2014
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How cute. Timmy once again talking tough & posturing all the while leaving out that his company just handed over millions upon millions of personal data to an authoritarian dictatorship.
This. Going to China and calling for more privacy when China and privacy are mutually-exclusive. Is there a more evil and anti-human rights country in the world than this nasty country? It is all things the free democratic world are not and it's trying to grow its tentacles to every part of the world. China is the world's number 1 enemy.
 
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Sasparilla

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Jul 6, 2012
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The only top tech CEO talking about this. Nice to see it. Not going to see Google (Android) and they're vendors saying this. Would love to see a law giving users total control over their data and upending the industry's focus on strip-mining user's personal details for profit.

At least our Chinese friends can just turn iCloud off in iOS, the system will keep working for the most part and backup encrypted locally easily with iTunes if they so choose.
 

simonmet

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Sep 9, 2012
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“From my American mindset, I believe strongly in freedom. They are at the core of what being an American is. But I also know that every country in the world decides their laws and regulations,” Cook said at the Fortune Global Forum in China in December in front of an audience of business executives from around the world.

“Your choice is—do you participate, or do you stay on the sideline and yell how things should be? My view is that you show up and you participate, because nothing ever changes from sidelines,” Cook said.


While the situation is obviously not ideal in China, I think he's in the right here. You need to have a seat at the table if you want to have that discussion.

I'm really glad to hear he's made a statement about this. Apple should be recognized for the way they fight for user privacy and reform when possible. Cook seems to have been particularly active in taking up that seat in the US recently, actively engaging with senators and making appearances in Washington. This is the kind of discussion we need to have and this kind of leadership is commendable IMO.
I’m not saying it’s the case here, but being on the sidelines is certainly not always the worst choice. Apple themselves regularly chooses who they do and don’t want to engage with. They join or adopt open standards when it suits them and create their own when it doesn’t. Some forums are inherently so biased or rigged that it’s not worth participating, but to create or contribute to alternative movements.

So I don’t know the point of his comments other than to say something, anything, because Tim Cook seems to always have to say something, no matter how (usually) obvious or pointless it is.
 
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Naraxus

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Oct 13, 2016
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Despite the naysayers, Apple’s strong focus on privacy will be good for their business, in the long run.
Correction, Apple's public narrative on privacy will be good for it's image. Behind the scenes however, they'll continue to do what they've always done which is anything but a strong focus on privacy.
 
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TMRJIJ

macrumors 68040
Dec 12, 2011
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The only top tech CEO talking about this. Nice to see it. Not going to see Google (Android) and they're vendors saying this. Would love to see a law giving users total control over their data and upending the industry's focus on strip-mining user's personal details for profit.

At least our Chinese friends can just turn iCloud off in iOS, the system will keep working for the most part and backup encrypted locally easily with iTunes if they so choose.
Google has been surprising us lately. You never know...
 

simonmet

macrumors 68020
Sep 9, 2012
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Correction, Apple's public narrative on privacy will be good for it's image. Behind the scenes however, they'll continue to do what they've always done which is anything but a strong focus on privacy.
I agree with this. If they really cared, they’d enable settings for maximum possible privacy on their products by default, but they don’t.

I regularly reset the advertising ID on iOS, which is a fairly hidden and cumbersome setting to access. This shouldn’t be necessary. Apple should regularly randomise advertising ID in iOS software at least once daily by default. An advertising ID is itself merely an identifier for the sole purpose of tracking users. They should move away from it entirely.

That’s just the beginning. They don’t even enable the hopelessly ineffective “Ask Websites Not To Track Me” setting by default, and there’s a whole host of other things they could do, like stop using Google as their default search provider. I commend them for finally offering Safari content blocking on iOS, but this needs to be expanded system-wide without the need for slow VPNs.

Most of what Apple says publicly is marketing and spin. Apple are better than most, but they can’t claim to be all-in on privacy when even basic and limited front-line defences are switched off by default.

All forms of tracking users should be opt-in, not opt-out!
 
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BootsWalking

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Feb 1, 2014
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Years ago Tim gave a speech railing against the user data-as-product business model of Silicon Valley, with the implied target being Google. Then we found out a few years later that Apple receives billions of dollars a year from Google to make Google the default search engine on Safari. I wonder how many years from today we'll find out Apple receives billions of dollars a year from Facebook for their integration into iOS. Hypocrite much Tim?
 
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