Apple CEO Tim Cook Expected to Back Strong Privacy Laws in Upcoming Speech

In an upcoming privacy conference in Brussels, Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to praise Europe’s new data protection standards while also calling for new US federal privacy protections.

So says a new report from TechCrunch, explaining that Cook is expected to stress the iPhone maker’s commitment to privacy and backing for strong laws in both the European Union and the United States to protect the use of data.

Cook will be addressing the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC), which is being held in Brussels this year to coincide with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area.

According to prepared remarks seen by TechCrunch, Cook is expected to say that privacy is a fundamental right — a key point in Europe’s beefed-up data protection standards — and to endorse renewed efforts in Washington to pass comprehensive U.S. federal privacy laws.

“We will never achieve technology’s true potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it,” the Apple chief executive is expected to say Wednesday. “We are optimistic about technology’s awesome potential for good. But we know that it won’t happen on its own.”

Cook’s upcoming speech comes at a time of increased scrutiny surrounding data protection and regulation, following a number of large-scale data breaches including Facebook’s recent admission that the personal data of almost 30 million users was compromised.

Cook has previously iterated his belief that it’s time for the government to regulate privacy, even though regulation will be shaped by a Congress that’s not particularly tech-savvy.

“I see privacy as one of the most important issues of the 21st century,” Cook said in a recent interview with Vice News. “I’m not a pro-regulation kind of person, I believe in the free market deeply [but] when the free market doesn’t produce a result that’s great for society, you have to ask yourself: What do we need to do? And I think some level of government regulation is important to come out of that.”

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