Speaking at the EU data protection conference CPDP today, Tim Cook gave the opening keynote with his talk entitled “A path to empowering user choice and boosting user trust in advertising.” Cook discussed Apple’s commitment to privacy and security, what it hopes to accomplish in the future, and basically condemned Facebook’s privacy-trampling business model.
Tim Cook touched on a variety of concerning issues Apple sees when it comes to privacy and security across the technology industry. He reiterated the point that in many cases, people aren’t customers anymore but rather the product that businesses are selling to advertisers.
As I’ve said before, if we accept as normal and unavoidable that everything in our lives can be aggregated and sold, we lose so much more than data, we lose the freedom to be human. And yet, this is a hopeful new season, a time of thoughtfulness and reform.
While Cook didn’t call out Facebook by name, he condemned its business model that any engagement is good engagement and capturing as much user data as possible.
If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise, it deserves reform.
Going further he said:
Too many are still asking the question, “how much can we get away with?” when they should be asking “what are the consequences?”
MacDailyNews Take: Apologies to Ian Malcolm: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Tim Cook was right to condemn Facebook’s privacy-trampling business model because it’s garbage as it depends on keeping users ignorant in order to succeed. Apple wants to users to understand what’s being taken from them in exchange for a “free” services and give user the tools they need to protect their privacy and security.
At Apple, we made our choice a long time ago. We believe that ethical technology is technology that works for you. It’s technology that helps you sleep, not keeps you up. It tells you when you’ve had enough, it gives you space to create, or draw, or write or learn, not refresh just one more time. It’s technology that can fade into the background when you’re on a hike or going for a swim but is there to warn you when your heart rate spikes or help you when you’ve had a nasty fall. And with all of this, always, it’s privacy and security first, because no-one needs to trade away the rights of their users to deliver a great product. – Apple CEO Tim Cook
Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English, and repeatedly. I’m an optimist; I believe people are smart, and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with your data. — Steve Jobs, June 2010
Cook’s address begins at the 3:50 minute mark: