Tim Cook takes aim at Facebooks practices during privacy conference

Its a benefit to join you– and to gain from this experienced panel– on this fitting event of Data Privacy Day.
A little more than 2 years ago, joined by my buddy, the much-missed Giovanni Buttarelli, and Data Protection regulators from all over the world, I spoke in Brussels about the introduction of a data-industrial complex.
At that gathering we asked ourselves: “what kind of world do we desire to reside in?”.
Two years later on, we ought to now take a tough appearance at how weve addressed that concern.
The reality is that an interconnected community of data and business brokers, of purveyors of fake news and peddlers of division, of trackers and hucksters just wanting to make a fast buck, is more present in our lives than it has ever been.
And it has never ever been so clear how it degrades our fundamental right to personal privacy initially, and our social fabric by effect.
As Ive said previously, “if we accept as inevitable and normal that whatever in our lives can be aggregated and sold, then we lose a lot more than data. We lose the liberty to be human.”.
And yet this is a hopeful brand-new season. A time of thoughtfulness and reform. And the most concrete development of all is thanks to much of you.
Showing doomsayers and cynics incorrect, the GDPR has actually provided an important structure for privacy rights around the globe, and its application and enforcement need to continue.
We cant stop there. We must do more. And were currently seeing confident advances worldwide, consisting of a successful tally effort strengthening consumer securities right here in California.
Together, we need to send a universal, humanistic reaction to those who declare a right to users private info about what need to not and will not be endured.
As I stated in Brussels two years ago, it is definitely time, not just for a thorough privacy law here in the United States, but also for around the world laws and new worldwide arrangements that enshrine the concepts of information minimization, user knowledge, user gain access to and information security around the world.
At Apple, stimulated on by the management of a number of you in the privacy neighborhood, these have actually been two years of unceasing action.
We have worked to not only deepen our own core privacy principles, however to produce ripples of favorable modification across the industry as a whole.
Weve spoken up, time and again, for strong encryption without backdoors, recognizing that security is the foundation of personal privacy.
Weve set brand-new market requirements for data reduction, user control and on-device processing for everything from location information to your images and contacts.
At the same time that weve blazed a trail in functions that keep you healthy and well, weve ensured that innovations like a blood-oxygen sensor and an ECG featured assurance that your health data stays yours.
And, last but not least, we are releasing powerful, brand-new requirements to advance user personal privacy throughout the App Store ecosystem.
The first is a advanced however simple concept that we call the privacy nutrition label.
Every app– including our own– must share their information collection and personal privacy practices, information that the App Store presents in a way every user can understand and act on.
The 2nd is called App Tracking Transparency. At its foundation, ATT has to do with returning control to users– about providing a state over how their data is managed.
Users have requested for this function for a long time. We have worked closely with developers to provide them the time and resources to implement it. Due to the fact that we believe it has the fantastic potential to make things better for everybody, and were passionate about it.
Because ATT reacts to a very genuine issue.
Earlier today, we launched a brand-new paper called “A Day in the Life of Your Data.” It tells the story of how apps that we use every day include an average of 6 trackers. This code frequently exists to surveil and identify users throughout apps, enjoying and tape-recording their behavior.
In this case, what the user sees is not constantly what they get.
Now, users might not understand whether the apps they use to pass the time, to check in with their pals, or to discover a location to consume, might in fact be passing on info about the photos theyve taken, the individuals in their contact list, or place information that shows where they consume, pray or sleep.
As the paper reveals, it seems that no piece of info is too personal or personal to be surveilled, generated income from, and aggregated into a 360-degree view of your life. The end outcome of all of this is that you are no longer the customer, youre the product.
When ATT remains in full impact, users will have a say over this type of tracking.
Some may well believe that sharing this degree of details deserves it for more targeted ads. Lots of others, I think, will not, just as most valued it when we built a similar functionality into Safari restricting web trackers several years back.
We see establishing these kinds of privacy-centric features and innovations as a core duty of our work. We always have, we constantly will.
The fact is that the argument over ATT is a microcosm of a debate we have actually been having for a long period of time– one where our perspective is really clear.
Innovation does not need large chests of individual information, stitched together across dozens of apps and sites, in order to prosper. Marketing existed and thrived for years without it. And were here today since the path of least resistance is rarely the path of knowledge.
If a company is constructed on deceptive users, on data exploitation, on options that are no options at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It should have reform.
We should not avert from the bigger image.
At a minute of widespread disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer disregard to a theory of technology that states all engagement is excellent engagement– the longer the better– and all with the objective of collecting as much data as possible.
Too lots of are still asking the concern, “just how much can we get away with?,” when they need to be asking, “what are the repercussions?”.
What are the repercussions of focusing on conspiracy theories and violent incitement merely due to the fact that of their high rates of engagement?
What are the effects of not simply tolerating, but gratifying material that undermines public rely on life-saving vaccinations?
What are the effects of seeing countless users sign up with extremist groups, and after that perpetuating an algorithm that advises a lot more?
It is long previous time to stop pretending that this technique does not featured a cost– of polarization, of lost trust and, yes, of violence.
A social issue can not be permitted to become a social disaster.
I think the previous year, and certainly current events, have actually brought home the threat of this for everyone– as a society, and as people as much as anything else.
Long hours invested caged in the house, the difficulty of keeping kids finding out when schools are closed, the concern and unpredictability about what the future would hold, all of these things tossed into sharp relief how technology can help– and how it can be used to damage.
Will the future belong to the developments that make our lives better, more satisfied and more human?
Or will it come from those tools that prize our attention to the exemption of everything else, compounding our worries and aggregating extremism, to serve ever-more-invasively-targeted ads over all other aspirations?
At Apple, we made our choice a long time ago.
Our company believe that ethical technology is innovation that works for you. Its technology that assists you sleep, not keeps you up. That informs you when youve had enough, that provides you space to produce, or draw, or compose or discover, not refresh simply one more time. Its innovation that can fade into the background when youre on a hike or going for a swim, however exists to alert you when your heart rate spikes or assist you when youve had a nasty fall. And that all of this, constantly, puts privacy and security first, since nobody needs to trade away the rights of their users to provide a great product.
Call us ignorant. But we still think that innovation made by people, for individuals, and with peoples wellness in mind, is too important a tool to desert. We still think that the best step of innovation is the lives it enhances.
Thats what makes us human. Because what we share with the world is absolutely nothing without the trust our users have in it.
To all of you who have joined us today, please keep pushing all of us forward. Keep setting high standards that put privacy. And take required and brand-new actions to reform what is broken.
Weve made progress together, and we should make more. Since the time is always ideal to be bold and brave in service of a world where, as Giovanni Buttarelli put it, technology serves individuals, and not the other method around.
Thank you quite.

Apple has long placed itself– rightfully or not– as a guardian of user information, and Cook spent a chunk of his remarks applauding customer personal privacy initiatives like GDPR and laying out essential modifications the company made in current item releases. Cook didnt shy away from pointed criticism of an industry that harvests huge chests of users information and thrives on engagement to the hinderance of whatever else.
Users have asked for this function for a long time. Technology does not need large troves of personal data, sewn together across dozens of apps and sites, in order to succeed. And that all of this, constantly, puts personal privacy and security first, because no one needs to trade away the rights of their users to deliver a terrific item.

Apple has actually long positioned itself– truly or not– as a guardian of user data, and Cook invested a piece of his remarks praising customer personal privacy initiatives like GDPR and describing key changes the company made in current product releases. (Think its personal privacy “nutrition labels” and changes to Safari and iOS 14 that avoid advertisement trackers from viewing your actions across the web.) Cook didnt shy away from pointed criticism of a market that harvests vast chests of users information and thrives on engagement to the detriment of everything else.
” At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer disregard to a theory of technology that states all engagement is great engagement– the longer the better– and all with the objective of gathering as much data as possible,” Cook urged. Later on, the Apple CEO argued that there was a clear expense to the practice of over-prioritizing interaction and growth over more human issues: “polarization, of lost trust and, yes, of violence.”
While Cook wouldnt particularly point fingers, the main target of his argument does not seem hard to recognize. Provided the role it has played in permitting the spread of false information and fomenting unrest in the past year, however, its pretty clear Apples CEO had Facebook in mind. (The truth that Cook referred to these larger issues as a “social issue” also checks out like a slightly tongue-in-cheek reference.).
Cooks remarks come one day after Apple reported all-time high quarterly profits, fueled mainly by need for the businesss new iPhone 12s. Facebook reported fairly strong financials that very same day, however the continuous tension in between the business was still on display– at one point throughout the popular post-earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg criticized Apple for overemphasizing its positions on information privacy and the way underlying changes in iOS 14 might moisten Facebook advertisement income.
” Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to hinder how our apps and other apps work, which they frequently do to choice their own,” Zuckerberg said. “This impacts the growth of countless companies all over the world, including with the upcoming iOS14 modifications, numerous small companies will no longer have the ability to reach their clients with targeted advertisements. Apple might state that theyre doing this to assist people, however the moves plainly track their competitive interests.”.
Eventually, Facebooks attempts to press back versus Apple might intensify beyond barbs on investor calls. A report published by The Information today declares that the social media network has actually spent months preparing an antitrust claim versus Apple, though the storys reporters note that Zuckerberg and his lieutenants might eventually decide versus submitting it.

You may also like...