Speaking in front of European Parliament at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, Cook called what is going on "a data industrial complex" and backed the introduction of a federal privacy law in the USA, similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented in the European Union.
Apple CEO Tim Cook lavished praise Wednesday on the European Union's data privacy rules embodied in the General Data Protection Regulation implemented in May, and at the same time made a strong case for the USA government to put in place similar protections for US citizens.
On his own company's efforts, he said: "We at Apple believe that privacy is a fundamental human right but also recognise that not everyone sees it that way".
"We shouldn't sugarcoat the consequences". Apple can ride a moral high horse when it comes to privacy because it does not primarily depend upon targeted advertising and the collection and sharing of personal data to make money.
"If green is your favorite color, you may find yourself reading a lot of articles - or watching a lot of videos - about the insidious threat from people who like orange", Cook said.
Codifying these principles in a federal law would better align the United States with what the European Union has put in place through the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It was revealed that a collection of Russian hackers gained access to Facebook's platforms in an attempt to interfere in the USA presidential election.
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Most of those targeted were past or present USA officials, but one was sent to actor Robert De Niro and billionaire George Soros . Law enforcement officials told the AP that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged to explode upon opening.
Facebook is investing heavily in both security and privacy even as this impacts on its profitability, Zuckerberg said.
"For too long, large companies have been able to hoover up data and profit off it, without paying a royalty to the people they got it off", he said.
This sense of not doing enough for the sake of privacy was set up prior to Cook's keynote by the EU's data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, who challenged the idea that we might seek technological progression at the expense of human decency.
In March, user privacy issues gained mainstream attention when an ex-Cambridge Analytica employee blew the whistle on Facebook's data practices. He also touched upon some of the concerns around security, including data collection, surveillance and manipulation, saying that as technology becomes more advanced it's also becoming more invasive. "Anything less is a sham".
The strongly-worded speech presented a striking defence of user privacy rights from a tech firm's chief executive. But in a tweet, he added: "We are optimistic about technology's awesome potential for good - but we know that it won't happen on its own".
As companies collect more and more data, he warns, businesses may have a fuller profile of an individual than the individual even has of herself.
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