We all know the tech industry has a major problem at the moment. That problem, in particular, being all the data that it keeps collecting and not knowing how to correctly manage it or keep it private. Technically these solutions are relatively easy if there is enough want, but there is too much money in utilising customer data for a variety of reasons that there simply hasn’t been much of a desire for companies to take confidentiality and privacy seriously.
This is something which Apple CEO Tim Cook believes will only change through government regulation as he doesn’t see companies come to any form of moral obligation on their own. Cook shared these thoughts at a Time 100 Summit recently held in New York:
Technology needs to be regulated. There are now too many examples where the no rails have resulted in a great damage to society… Europe is more likely to come up with something. GDPR is a step in the right direction. We are advocating strongly for regulation — I do not see another path at this point.
Cook obviously points to Europe’s new GDPR privacy rules an example that could effectively provide the needed regulation, but with the majority of tech firms based in the US, little is likely to change until the US comes up with some similar form of regulation of its own.
However, Cook went on to reassure people at the same time that he doesn’t simply believe in passing the responsibility onto government and said that Apple as a company will continue to make efforts to improve data privacy for its customers and will not make any efforts to lobby government neither to get this done, as he doesn’t believe it is ethically right:
We cannot look for the government to solve all of our problems. Apple doesn’t have a PAC [political action committee – an organization that helps fund political candidates] Apple’s probably the only large company, or one of the few, I would think that doesn’t have a PAC. I refuse to have one because it shouldn’t exist.
Fighting words from Cook, though ones that people will probably have a hard time believing considering the vitriol people already have against the industry as a whole. Admittedly, Apple hasn’t been the biggest culprit of privacy issues, but they aren’t innocent either and it’s difficult to know whether there has been a legitimate change in the organisation or not.
With more and more awareness being raised about these issues from tech companies themselves, hopefully, we’ll see action in this regard soon and have an industry that finally gives people and their data the privacy and security it deserves.
In closing, Cook also gave some good advice for people who touch their screens thousands of times a day:
Well, you shouldn’t be doing that. If you’re looking at your phone more than you’re looking at people’s eyes, you’re doing the wrong thing. We don’t want people using their phones all the time. This has never been an objective for us
Last Updated: April 24, 2019