Apple’s Tim Cook: ‘Technology Needs to Be Regulated’

Citing shortcomings in the “no rails” approach big tech companies have taken so far, the CEO called for comprehensive government oversight, especially where it relates to consumer privacy.

by Douglas Perry, The Oregonian / April 24, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook flickr/Markus Spiering

(TNS) — The tech giants aren’t up to the task of protecting people’s privacy or America’s democracy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday at the 2019 Time 100 Summit in New York City.

“We all have to be intellectually honest, and we have to admit that what we’re doing isn’t working,” he said in an interview for the event. “Technology needs to be regulated. There are now too many examples where the ‘no rails’ [approach] have resulted in great damage to society.”

Large data breaches have become common in recent years, putting Americans’ personal information at risk. And the special-counsel report by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, a redacted version of which was released last week, details how Russia manipulated the 2016 U.S. presidential election through hacking, social-media targeting and purposefully divisive, often false online content.

“We are advocating strongly for regulation,” Cook said. “I do not see another path.” He said he’s “hopeful” that Congress will create meaningful governmental oversight that addresses privacy and related concerns.

In a January editorial for Time, Cook urged Congress to pursue “comprehensive federal privacy legislation.”

“Consumers shouldn’t have to tolerate another year of companies irresponsibly amassing huge user profiles, data breaches that seem out of control and the vanishing ability to control our own digital lives,” he wrote. “This problem is solvable — it isn’t too big, too challenging or too late. Innovation, breakthrough ideas and great features can go hand in hand with user privacy — and they must. Realizing technology’s potential depends on it.”

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, also appeared at the Time event. He minimized the role Russia played in the 2016 election, dismissing it as a handful of social-media advertisements. He said the Mueller investigation “and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads.”

Other speakers at the 2019 Time 100 Summit include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and legendary primatologist Jane Goodall.

©2019 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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