Tim Cook calls data collection 'surveillance' in blunt, forceful speech on 'data-industrial complex'
At the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels, Belgium back in October, Apple CEO Tim Cook did not shy away from using strong language to warn of the dangers of data collection and loss of citizen privacy. Cook praised the European Union for taking the initiative in protecting the personal data of its citizens with the passage of General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. He urged the United States to follow suit with a federal law that would protect citizen’s rights against what he described as an emerging, ‘data-industrial complex.’
He explained how data-gathering algorithms affect individual privacy and how these tools can be abused through rogue agents, organizations and governments to undermine society.
He also shared how Apple questioned the power of a totalitarian state and conformity in the 1984 Macintosh ad "Why 1984 Won't Be Like 1984.” The powerful ad played on the themes of George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, ending with the powerful message that technology can be used to empower, rather than enslave.
After the event, Cook also shared his thoughts on Twitter.
Four Elements of Privacy
Cook outlined four key rights that he thinks should be essential to a new US federal privacy law.
1. Right to have private data minimized.
2. Right to know what data is being collected and why.
3. Right for any individual to get access to his or her own data, correct it and delete it, if desired.
4. Right to security, which he described as “foundation to trust and all other privacy rights.”
Cook also admitted that there were plenty of people who would prefer that he had not said that and that many people will also publicly endorse privacy reform, but ‘undermine it behind closed doors.’ He also pointed out that any technology that would supposedly be hampered by privacy laws was false and such a claim was destructive. Tim Cook is the first CEO of a large American corporation to take such a pro-privacy stance on individual consumer rights.
At Elf, we believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, as essential as freedom.