Tim Cook, Apple CEO

Apple CEO Tim Cook renews call for regulation of technology

Image credit: PA

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook has again called for technology to be regulated, suggesting that the US could take inspiration from Europe's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules to better protect user data.

Cook said that current efforts to regulate technology are not working and have led to “a great damage to society”.

“We all have to be intellectually honest and we have to admit that what we’re doing isn’t working," he told the Time 100 Summit in New York.

“Technology needs to be regulated. There are now too many examples where the no rails have resulted in a great damage to society.”

Cook explained that GDPR - the EU-wide law introduced almost a year ago designed to protect people’s data and privacy - “isn’t ideal” but is “a step in the right direction” for the US to take note of.

“I’m hopeful,” he continued. “We are advocating strongly for regulation - I do not see another path.”

The 58-year-old has previously praised GDPR, saying that it was time for the rest of the world, including his home country, to follow the EU’s lead.

Last year, Mr Cook urged the technology industry to take more responsibility for the devices and services it creates, warning that data is being weaponised with military efficiency against users.

Apple’s current advertising campaign is focused on the privacy features of the iPhone, supported by a dedicated Privacy section on its website.

The Apple campaign, with its heightened focus on user’s privacy, is almost certainly an intentional reflection on the bad-news travails of Facebook, a company lurching from crisis to crisis as far as privacy and poor handling of user data are concerned.

The latest storm surrounding Facebook is that, according to a Washington Post report, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering directly targeting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for the company’s mishandling of user data.

Social media companies and other Silicon Valley technology giants increasingly find themselves at the heart of world events, given how widely their products are used by billions of people in all corners of the globe. Calls for tighter regulation of technology firms and products have been growing in many countries, especially in the wake of recent tragic events, such as the New Zealand mosque shootings and the church bombings in Sri Lanka. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is to host a meeting of world leaders in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron next month, to discuss how extreme violent content could be banished from the internet.

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