The biggest tech company in the world has claimed that internet regulation is on its way. Apple CEO Tim Cook has reported that too many products have been used for the sake of evil, prompting the need for government regulation. For obvious reasons, it’s a highly unusual statement to hear from a corporate titan.
Cook claims that though tech products are made from a state of neutrality, many products have inevitably been used for evil. As such, Cook has predicted that federal regulation of Silicon Valley is likely on its way.
“Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation. I’m a big believer in the free market,” claims Cook in a recent interview with Axios. “But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation. I think the Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.”
This comes after Cook reprimanded the “data industrial complex” surveillance of personal data back in October. At the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels on October 24, Cook claimed that the personal data of countless internet users are being traded and sold without user knowledge.
Though Cook didn’t call out specific companies, many inferred he was referencing the actions of Facebook and Google, two of the most profitable tech companies on the internet today. These two companies have a track record of profiting from user data through targeted advertising.
It’s estimated that Google receives more than 100 billion user searches every month, making it the undisputed leader in its field. Through these searches, Google is better able to tailor ads to the individual with virtually no government regulation, at least in the United States.
And internet sales are only expected to increase. It’s estimated that the U.S. market for apparel will grow to more than $385 billion by 2025. As more people shop online, the information garnered from your purchases and searches can be used to target you in the future.
It’s this kind of data mining that Cook seeks to reprimand, but the Apple CEO has recently been called out for his hypocrisy on the subject.
Apple has profited from the same practices Cook admonished in his speech. It’s been reported that Apple receives billions of dollars from Google alone to use their search engine as the default browsing app on most Apple products.
With Europe’s internet privacy law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation law (GDPR), in full effect, many online businesses have needed to change their policies. Despite Cook’s hypocrisy, the Apple CEO hopes that this regulation will extend to U.S. Policies.
“This is not a matter of privacy versus profits, or privacy versus technical innovation. That’s a false choice,” Cook claims.
Based on Apple’s track record, however, we’ll have to see whether the company will enjoy regulations when they finally come to the United States.