Apple CEO on Facebook Data Scandal: Apple Would Never Be in This Situation Because Our Consumer Is Not Our Product

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Mar 28, 2018
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In his response to Facebook’s data collection scandal, Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week in Beijing that he supports the idea of regulating tech companies and how they use customer data. “I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook had said.

“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.”

In an interview today to MSNBC and Recode that will air on April 6, the CEO of a company that has long been applauded for its focus on user privacy and security (with some hiccups) said that it’s probably too late for Facebook to be self-regulated.

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Tim Cook on Facebook data scandal: too late for self regulation

Cook continues to ask for regulation that would limit tech companies’ data collection practices. “I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self regulation,” he said.

“However, I think we’re beyond that here.”

Apple has long advertised its ecosystem as the best choice for those who want privacy. “We’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people, that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources, should exist,” Cook said, adding that these profiles “can be abused against our democracy. It can be abused by advertisers as well.”

Apple chief said in today’s interview that if the FBI iPhone privacy case “came up again, we would fight again.” It was revealed only last night that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was trying to use the San Bernardino case as a “poster child” for pushing tech companies to give them backdoor access.

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As for Facebook, Cook said he finds it “creepy” when “all of a sudden something is chasing me around the web,” referring to ad targeting.

“Everyone should know what they’re doing. Everyone should know what they’re giving up.”

Facebook – and several other tech companies – use consumer data as a primary part of their advertising business. While Cupertino tech giant has also tried its luck, its cash mostly comes through its hardware. “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer – if our customer was our product,” he said in the interview. “We’ve elected not to do that.”

When asked what would he do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg? Cook answered: “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Relevant: How to take back control, delete or limit data that Facebook has on you

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