Apple CEO Cook says companies are weaponizing our personal data, and he’s right

“On Wednesday, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook gave the keynote speech at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners,” Jason Cross writes for Macworld. “In it he sounded the warning bell about how our personal data is being collected, processed, bought, and sold.”

Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency… Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm. We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance. — Apple CEO Tim Cook

“In his speech, Cook called for U.S. regulations to protect its citizens’ privacy,” Cross writes. “Supporting such legislation in the U.S. would huge step to protecting all of our privacy. Even if you’re not in the U.S., you should hope the U.S. government passes such regulations; given the number of major tech companies headquartered in the U.S. and the strength of the U.S. market for tech consumers, policies made here will ripple out across the entire world.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we asked earlier this week:

Cook’s message is getting out far and wide. Will it even reach and finally penetrate the thick skulls of the ignorant suckers toting around Apple IP-infringing, privacy-trampling, user-tracking Android devices?

Apple CEO Cook promotes privacy as ‘fundamental human right’ via tweetstorm; asks ‘What kind of world do we want to live in?’ – October 24, 2018
CNN interview: Apple CEO Cook believes data collection by the likes of Google and Facebook has crossed the line – October 24, 2018
Video of data privacy keynote address from Apple CEO Cook – October 24, 2018
Apple CEO Cook backs comprehensive federal privacy laws in the U.S., warns data being ‘weaponized’ – October 24, 2018
FBI investigating Facebook security breach where attackers accessed 30 million users’ personal information – October 12, 2018
Google exposed user data, did not disclose to public fearing repercussions – October 10, 2018
After trying and failing to hide the issue, Alphabet pulls plug on Google+ after bug exposes data from up to 500,000 users – October 8, 2018
Facebook discovers security breach affecting 50 million users – September 28, 2018
Facebook is giving advertisers access to users’ shadow contact information – September 27, 2018
42% of U.S. users have ‘taken a break’ from Facebook; 28% have deleted the Facebook app in the past year – September 5, 2018
Researchers find Google harvests more data from Android – and Apple iOS – users than most people think – August 21, 2018
Google hit with lawsuit accusing them of tracking phone users regardless of privacy settings – August 20, 2018
Google tracks users movements even when explicitly told not to – Associated Press – August 13, 2018
Mark Zuckerberg loses $16 billion in record Facebook fall – July 26, 2018
Facebook stock plunges as users vanish – July 25, 2018
Apple highlights user privacy as Facebook exec steps down – June 14, 2018
The 18 things you may not realize Facebook knows about you: Firm reveals the extent of its spying in a 454-page document to U.S. Congress – June 12, 2018
Facebook confirms sharing users’ personal data with Chinese companies – June 6, 2018
Apple’s macOS Mojave removes integration with third-party internet accounts like Facebook – June 6, 2018
Apple borks Facebook’s pervasive personal data-harvesting operation – June 5, 2018
Apple requested ‘zero’ personal data in deals with Facebook – CEO Tim Cook – June 5, 2018
Facebook CEO blasts Apple’s latest privacy protections as ‘cute virtue signaling’ – June 5, 2018


  1. Is that another post calling Apple a hypocrite for their calls for public privacy vs how they act in China?

    Because if it is, I call BS. Apple does not collect data or use it differently on their customers in China. They do have to comply with Chinese laws which require certain horrid provisions that allow the Chinese government to monitor the web activities of their citizens, just like any other company doing business in China has to do.

    I hear the argument “if Apple is so high and mighty about this they shouldn’t do business in China”. Which is absurd. Because Samsung, Google, FB, AMZN and all the rest will take that business. Despite whatever convictions they have about privacy, Apple would be derelict to its shareholders if it stayed out that market.

    Moreover, I will argue that Apple should be present in China, because the technologies they enable will hasten the inevitable fall of that odious regime; if you leave it to the FaceBooks of the world, they would neither hasten the demise and might even strengthen it. Apple being present in China is a strong analogy to US policies to engage with Hungary, Poland, etc. that lead to the ultimate fall of the Iron curtain.

  2. I doubt many American citizens are concerned about what happens to their personal data or invasion of their privacy. American citizens love free services and social media apps. Privacy?!! That’s ridiculous. Americans are putting Echos with Alexa and Google Home products in every room in their houses/apartments. Do you think those people actually want privacy by putting eavesdropping devices everywhere? I can listen to people having conversations on their smartphones from twenty feet away on the buses and subway cars. Those people don’t seem to be interested in privacy at all.

    I’m not sure who Tim Cook is representing except maybe Apple or himself. I don’t think he’s speaking for anyone who uses Google Services or Facebook. Facebook has had multiple data breaches and hardly anyone deleted their accounts. About 85% of the world uses fragmented Android OS smartphones with Google Services. We’re looking at a world that basically doesn’t value privacy or personal data.

    Apple may be the only company that doesn’t take personal data and sells it to other companies. For that, Apple is given a P/E of 20 and the data-siphoning companies get P/Es of 50. No one on Wall Street is praising Apple for trying to protect user privacy. Truly, almost no one gives a fig about it. Tim Cook is probably just making more enemies. Data collection is one of the best money-making business in the world and making tons of ad revenue from it is Wall Street’s favorite thing. Apple is just seen as a loser for not using personal data to make money.

    1. I applaud Apple for defending people’s privacy in spite of those peoples’ stupidity… just as I applaud anyone defending democracy in spite of peoples’ stupidity in supporting those who are rapidly destroying it.

        1. Your stupity does not mean that someone else shouldn’t do the right thing.
          Privacy is SUPPOSED to be part of how the country works.
          And Apple does NOT have to cater to every stupid little variaton in how people think they should do things.

          If you don’t want privacy, you could always use an iPhone but put as much info as possible onto Facebook, with settings wide open.

          1. I don’t have an iPhone, but I do have 2 iPads. How about the stupidity of Apple getting paid to steer me to Google, though I don’t mind. I mind Apple selling me.

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