Apple CEO Tim Cook called for “well-crafted regulation” covering privacy while speaking during a panel on global inequality at the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday. Context is key, too, as the comments came in the wake of news that Facebook profile data was used in ways that violate Facebook terms of service, and that Facebook knew about the privacy breach and didn’t tell users.
“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Mr. Cook said, according to Bloomberg. “The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”
Tim Cook’s Been Worried about Privacy
This is in line with Mr. Cook’s longstanding stance that privacy is important, and that it would eventually become a selling point as people became more concerned with incidents including this one.
He added, “We’ve worried for a number of years that people in many countries were giving up data probably without knowing fully what they were doing and that these detailed profiles that were being built of them, that one day something would occur and people would be incredibly offended by what had been done without them being aware of it. Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once.”
Privacy and Openness
Mr. Cook also argued that privacy is good for commerce and even society itself, saying, “The countries that embrace openness do exceptional and the countries that don’t, don’t. It’s not a matter of carving things up between sides. I’m going to encourage that calm heads prevail.”
As of this writing, there is no momentum for a bill to guard our privacy, well-crafted or otherwise. Agencies—such as the Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Ajit Pai—that could guard aspects of our privacy have openly abandoned their job in favor of communications companies’ right to exploit anything and everything we do, including our own browser history.
It will be interesting to see if Apple were to get involved lobbying for well-crafted regulation.