Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook predicts that government regulation of the tech companies to protect personal data are “inevitable.”
In an interview for Axios on HBO, Cook said he expected the US Congress to bring some level of regulation. Tech companies should brace themselves for upcoming regulations and it’s not inherently a good versus bad situation. He also said that the Silicon Valley must be aware that their products can be misused.
“This is not a matter of privacy versus profits, or privacy versus technical innovation. That’s a false choice,” he said.
“Free Market Isn’t Working,” Tim Cook
Tim Cook called for a federal privacy law, where an individual has the right to have personal data minimized, the right to know what user data is being collected and why, the right for an individual to access their data, and the right to security.
Industry leaders have agreed that the tech industry is now beyond the scope of self-regulation. For instance, at Facebook, there’s continual tension between the security team and the legal/policy team in terms of how to prioritize user protection in the decision-making. Facebook has been fielding concerns about how well it protects user data and defends against malicious use aimed at swaying elections.
Controversies erupting since the 2016 presidential election in the United States and Brexit have raised concerns over the role tech companies have played in exploiting users’ personal data to swing votes.
On Silicon Valley’s Gender Gap Problem
Cook told Axios that while tech companies have embraced diversity and inclusion, they’ve miserably failed when it comes to closing the gaping gender gap. “I agree 100 percent from a gender point of view that the (Silicon) Valley has missed it, and tech in general, has missed it,” he said.
Women’s share of software and computing jobs fell from 34% in 1990 to 27% in 2011. Tech companies are struggling to create and foster environments that women need to thrive in the industry.
Apple has taken a stance on privacy in the past, going head to head against government agencies. For instance, it’s infamous battle with the FBI over unlocking encrypted phones and its blocking of hacking tools used by law enforcement to break into iPhones.