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  • Dean Smith

Data Protection: Apple Fights at the Forefront

With the disturbing trend and uptick in data breaches, as well as scandals involving consumer data being sold for profit, it has come at no surprise that heavy-hitter Apple is speaking out about the importance of privacy for not only its users, but consumers as a whole.

According to Insurance Journal, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook spoke at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners late last month, to express his support of a federal privacy law in the US and reinforce Apple’s commitment to protecting their consumers’ privacy and data. Insurance Journal stated that, “Apple, which designs many of its products so that it cannot see users’ data, has largely avoided the data privacy scandals that have enmeshed its rivals Google and Facebook this year.”

During his lecture, Cook made several key points to the packed audience. Some are quoted below:

“The desire to put profits over privacy is nothing new.”

Discussed “gossip” by stating that, “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.”

“These scraps of data … each one harmless enough on its own … are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded, and sold.”

“If green is your favorite color, you may find yourself reading a lot of articles – or watching a lot of videos – about the insidious threat from people who like orange.”

“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance. And these stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them.”

In reference to governments abusing users’ data and trust, especially with upcoming elections: “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.”

Furthermore, in full support of a US federal privacy law, Cook stated, “Users should always know what data is being collected and what it is being collected for. This is the only way to empower users to decide what collection is legitimate and what isn’t. Anything less is a sham.”

Europe has already integrated the General Data Protection Regulation. Will the United States follow suit?

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