Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has joined the chorus of voices warning that data itself is being weaponized again people and societies — arguing that the trade in digital data has exploded into a “data industrial complex”.
Cook did not namecheck the adtech elephants in the room: Google, Facebook and other background data brokers that profit from privacy-hostile business models. But his target was clear.
“Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency,” warned Cook. “These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold.
“Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm.”
“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance.”
He also stated:
“We should celebrate the transformative work of the European institutions tasked with the successful implementation of the GDPR. We also celebrate the new steps taken, not only here in Europe but around the world — in Singapore, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand. In many more nations regulators are asking tough questions — and crafting effective reform.
“It is time for the rest of the world, including my home country, to follow your [Europe’s] lead.”
Details may be found in an article by Natasha Lomas, senior reporter for TechCrunch, at https://tcrn.ch/2PSW6rz.