Tim Cook calls for strong U.S. privacy laws, says some tech firms are putting "profits over privacy"


Speaking today at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) in Brussels, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that businesses these days are creating a digital profile of each user that are swapped among each other. Saying that the trade in digital profiles among businesses has created a "data-industrial complex," Cook is asking the U.S. government to pass "a comprehensive federal privacy law."

Cook says that businesses collecting personal data belonging to users are in effect, conducting surveillance. The executive stated that "These stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them. This should make us very uncomfortable." While not naming the companies he had in mind, Apple's CEO might have been referring to Google and Facebook when he complained that some tech firms are putting "profits over privacy."

The executive had kind things to say about Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was put into place on the continent to protect Europeans' privacy. This regulation can fine companies that use individual's personal information without permission, up to 4% of global revenue for the proceeding fiscal year.

During his speech, Tim Cook mentioned his proposal for a U.S. privacy law based on four personal rights. First, he says that U.S. consumers should have the right to have personal data minimized so that companies cannot connect data with the person it belongs to. Secondly, Cook says that U.S. consumers should have the right to know what data is being collected, and the reason why it is being collected. The CEO adds that U.S. consumers should also have the right to easily obtain a copy of their personal data, make corrections, and have it deleted. The fourth right is the right to security.


You can watch Tim Cook's speech by clicking on the video at the top of this article.

source: ArsTechnica

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55 Comments

2. cmdacos

Posts: 3742; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Some are using security as a marketing term but aren't really providing much of a different experience. Apple does well with security at the OS level and their own apps yet developers with iOS apps are not as secure with your data or privacy. Now Apple is leveraging the data app developers have to create shortcuts. Also if you are attached to a network you don't have privacy. Give me services all day every day.

32. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Fortunately, on iOS apps only have access to the info that the user provides, they can not get OS control and steal data from other apps or from the OS.

3. Subie

Posts: 2255; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

So does he want this for the benefit of the average citizen, or to help drive down the competitions business model... As these companies are primarily being about making money first, I know which I believe to be the reason.

5. Finalflash

Posts: 4061; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

He's obviously doing this to keep everyone else down. Apple is falling behind rapidly in the AI game and they want to strangle the competition rather than innovate. I mean instead of putting more money in R&D, they'd rather buy politicians, give $150 billion to shareholders (like Tim himself) and buyback stock to enrich themselves.

27. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Apple is not failing, Apple is winning winning and winning....!!!! They aren't tired of winning yet. They will destroy Samsung and Google and continue to win win and win more.

33. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I don't think anyone at Apple wants to destroy Google or Samsung. Business is a never ending game and the only winner is the one that is still playing the game ;).

6. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Pot meet ketrle. And Apple puts profits above giving a solid product that is actually worth what it costs. 2 different ends of the spectrum, same result. How many times Apple have you blamed customers for stuff that was clearly your faukty. How many times you put customers in danger or released flawed products, because you didn't want to release product late that you knew internally had issues. Simply because profit was more important than making sure the product was being release was of better quality and workmanship. Tim Cook, please shut up calling out other companies when you are guilty if tax dodging, selling broken products and purpose altering then with updates and not telling us. Hypocrites!

7. errnope

Posts: 43; Member since: May 23, 2018

Let us remind ourselves of which fruit company was cause secretly recording all your GPS data and favourite locations. Ah yes. The thing is everyone is doing it. It is just some have open reputation for it and others don't.

24. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

Note 7 was so explosive to compete apple. Rushed!

8. midan

Posts: 2471; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Well done Cook, it's time to talk about this subject. We won't even know anymore what these devices share about us, especially with Android which is designed to sell people's privacy. When people get more aware to this subject, more people will switch to iPhone.

11. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Apple charged Google $9 billion to be the default search for this year, and it was 3 billion last year. Apple also gets access to the data from Google as well. So I guess it's legal for Apple to be a pimp then. Apple is inocent in all this data collection stuff. Right midan? Give us a break. If Apple cares about privacy then Apple wouldn't allow any collection of data, period. Yet it's okay for Apple to charge and make a profit on Apple's customers data.

15. sissy246

Posts: 6888; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

'Apple charged Google $9 billion to be the default search for this year" Yep, and do you all think google paid that to Apple if it wasn't going to make them a return with some kind of data info.

34. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

It doesn't. Google was collecting location data through Safari and Apple has put a stop to that when it found out.

12. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

If more people would be aware of Apple's anti-user policy on things like the right to repair yourself, more people would switch away from Apple. Don't pretend Apple cares more for their users than for instance Google. Privacy is just another marketing term that works well for Apple.

35. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

The 2 companies have different business models: Google makes money from the user's data; Apple makes money from selling great hardware. Both are very good at what they do and they play in different markets.

38. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

I somewhat disagree. Their hardware (especially their laptops) aren't that great at all. But they are doing everything legally possible to make sure users can only get their Apple stuff fixed at Apple certified places where they are easily ripped off. Making billions in the process. It's not the difference in business model, it's the pretending to be all about users and do good that is worrisome. Why try to influence politics on user privacy when you can just focus on delivering privacy to your own users. It's all about marketing and trying to deliver a blow to the competition in an unfair way. And people fall for that crap hard

39. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Why do you say Mac's are not that great? I have been using as a secondary device - but on every day basis - an Android device for a month and I am fed up with ads - I even have SMS ads... My main device - which is still an iPhone - is just as clean as the first day I inserted my sim card in an iOS device. That is clear for me that on iOS I'm a client and on Android I'm a product.

41. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Because hardware wise, their laptops aren't that great at all. Yes, the battery is good, but sometimes they want thin at the expense of performance. Just google Louis Rossmann and you will know their hardware often has design flaws. We are talking about laptop hardware and you bring up Android? And apart from ads like the ones on this site, I don't see ads and never ever seen one in SMS. Haven't heard that from friends either but that is because unsolicited ads using SMS is illegal in my country. And I use Google for Business anyway. And you can use wording to suggest things are better with Apple. If you are screwed over as a client, it's just as bad as being the product.

42. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

What's wrong with their laptops, hardware wise? They are not able to run apps, to run media files, to browse the web, to use office tools, to connect to networks? SMS ads are also illegal in my country; do you think that spammers care about that?

43. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Motherboard parts (like IC's and transistors) that are below par, so there would be GPU or heat issues. The keyboard issue that has come to light recently. Cooling fans that have their heat exhaust blow hot air over a part that is glued together, so the glue would let loose. And yes certain apps (like video editing) would be impossible on a machine that was designed to video edit. And no spammers don't care, but according to you, you only received them on Android, so Google is working with spammers that don't care about the law.

44. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Has Apple refused to change a bad laptop or reimburse the client for it? I meant the spammers got access to my phone number that I have only used in an Android phone, I never said Google gave it to them; my main phone number - which has only been used in iOS devices for the last 4 years now and it is on my Facebook profile (visible only to my friends) - is safe.

45. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

They have offered to replace the motherboard or even a complete new machine, both options are quite expensive. So no, not for free. But like I said, google Louis Rossmann

46. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Dude, you live in EU and you know that our laws are very strict when it comes to quality of the products. If the product is bad, you get a new one for free. But maybe I should have started with another question: have you owned a faulty apple product and had problems with warranty, or do you talk about them from what you read on the web?

47. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

It's not always that simple, especially since most warranties only last 2 years. But in many EU countries, there is already a right to repair law, which is slowly coming to US as well. And yes I have had problems with warranty with a couple of our iPhones & iPads. But I also get my information from the web, which is a reliable source of knowledge if you know where to look.

48. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

It doesn't take more than 2y to have a problem with the motherboard, heat or glue; 2018 Macs had a problem with the keyboard (its been fixed since as far as I know) so it's under 2y of warranty. What problems did you had so far - "problem" meaning Apple refused to repair, replace or reimburse your product under warranty?

49. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Yes, it does, some IC's or transistors would take more than 2 years to become bad enough for the laptop to stop working. And yes within 2 years you're safe (most of the times). Usually so-called water damages, but those sensors go off on humidity as well. Granted we don't have that many Apple stores, so we would go through Apple resellers (certified ones), so it's hard to tell which company was being the jerk.

50. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Do you have a number (better yet a percentage) of devices with that problem or are there official statements anyone can look through? Have you contacted the consumers authority in your country about those issues?

51. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

No percentages and no official statements, why would we have that? But our company lawyer already said it's hard to prove it's not real water damages. In the end, I just repaired them myself.

52. Leo_MC

Posts: 6092; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Without data to back up your claim about Macs, you're just making a personal observation. The reality is - and this is backed up by data - Macs have been for many years the less prone devices - in their category - to break. Every device breaks, every company might happen to make a bad designed device, what happens after that is what counts; Apple has a bad history with the iP (bumper on 4, bend on 6 - both fixed), but - please correct, if I am wrong - it never refused to reimburse those who wanted their money back. Your company should fire that lawyer, because it's not you who has to prove the water damages but Apple (or the official reseller).

53. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5473; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

I am making a personal observation based on plenty of reliable sources. Also, it's not just about breaking, it's about getting it fixed. Other laptops break as well but can be fixed at your local repair shop without the manufacturer sueing or trying to block this. As to the lawyer, Apple can and will deny warranty when there is at least one fully red internal LCI. This is proof enough for them to deny warranty. But let's end the discussion, we clearly see differently and neither of us is going to convince the other.

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