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Apple CEO Tim Cook: “Well-Crafted” Regulations Needed to Protect User Data

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Apple has been touting the need to protect user data for years, and now CEO Tim Cook has said “well-crafted” regulations may be required. The comments were noted at the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, during a session on global inequality.

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Bloomberg has a summary of Cook’s comments, when asked if user data should be restricted given the recent fallout of Facebook over its handling of user privacy:

“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook said after being asked if the use of data should be restricted in light of the Facebook incident. “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.”

[…]

“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,” he said. “Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once.”

Here is how Apple explains their privacy policy on their website, when it comes to their products and services:

Your personal data should always be protected on your device and never shared without your permission. So we build encryption, on-device intelligence and other tools into our products to let you share what you want on your terms. We also use techniques like Differential Privacy to improve user experiences while protecting the information you share with Apple. Differential Privacy adds random information to your data before it’s analyzed by Apple, so we can’t link that data to your device. Instead, patterns appear only when the data is combined with the data from many other users, because the random additions average out. These patterns help Apple gain insight into how people are using their devices without collecting information about an individual.

Do you trust Apple with your personal data? The company has become the gold standard when it comes to protecting user data (unless you’re in China, some may argue).

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