While the world revolves around data today, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a swipe on the tech giants of Silicon Valley for their abuse on privacy in his keynote address at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy in Brussels, Belgium.
He said that although technologies are driving breakthroughs in humanity’s greatest common projects, the world sees vividly how painfully technology can harm rather than help.
“Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies. Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence, and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false,” he said.
Cook added, “This crisis is real. It is not imagined, or exaggerated, or crazy. And those of us who believe in technology’s potential for good must not shrink from this moment.”
“Today that trade has exploded into a data industrial complex. Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency.”
The Apple chief’s speech was in light of strict new data protection rules and as Apple begins to mend a difficult relationship with the EU following a clash over 13 billion euros in allegedly unpaid taxes.
He added the US should adopt its own data protection regulation, similar to Europe's General Data Protection Regulation.
“In Singapore, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, and many more nations, regulators are asking tough questions and crafting effective reforms. It is time for the rest of the world, including my home country to follow your lead.”
In the wake of those new rules, regulators and lawmakers in Europe and the U.S. have trained their eyes on Facebook and Google, particularly following revelations of potential user privacy violations.