Apple boss Tim Cook hits out at Facebook and Google

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Apple boss Tim Cook hits out at Facebook and Google

Apple chief Tim Cook has made a thinly veiled attack on Facebook and Google for “gobbling up” users’ personal data.
In a speech, he said people should not have to “make trade-offs between privacy and security”.
While not naming Facebook and Google explicitly, he attacked companies that “built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency”.
Rights activists Privacy International told the BBC it had some scepticism about Mr Cook’s comments.
“It is encouraging to see Apple making the claim that they collect less information on us than their competitors,” Privacy International’s technologist Dr Richard Tynan said.
“However, we have yet to see verifiable evidence of the implementation of these claims with regard to their hardware, firmware, software or online services.
“It is crucial that our devices do not betray us.”
‘We think that’s wrong’
Addressing an audience in Washington DC, Mr Cook said: “I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information.
“They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”
Mr Cook had been given a corporate leadership award by the Electronic Privacy Information Centre, a US-based research group.
According to TechCrunch, he later added that Apple “doesn’t want your data”.
Tim Cook giving a presentation on the Apple Watch
Apple collects some data – such as fitness and location information – via its devices
Google has not commented on Mr Cook’s comments specifically, but a spokeswoman referred the BBC to the privacy section of its website, which the company has recently updated.
“Ads are what enable us to make our services like Search, Gmail, and Maps free for everyone,” one page reads.
“We do not share information with advertisers in a way that personally identifies you, unless you gave us permission.”
Facebook suggested this page outlining how it collects user data.
While Apple does not hold the same wealth of data looked after by Google and Facebook, it does use personal information to target advertising.
A page for marketers on Apple’s website offers “400 targeting options” for reaching users.
It reads: “Whether you’re looking for moms or business travellers or groups of your own customers, we’ve got you covered.”
Apple’s lack of data, when compared with some of its rivals, could be a disadvantage for future devices. Services such as Google Now, which use stored data to predict what information users may need, require vast amounts of personal data to be effective.
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Mr Cook also spoke at length about encryption.
His company introduced encryption measures by default to its devices late last year, a move heralded by privacy campaigners but heavily criticised by several governments.
Mr Cook hit out at governments that had pressured technology companies to allow for so-called “backdoors” to aid with counter-terrorism and other enforcement.
“There’s another attack on our civil liberties that we see heating up every day,” Mr Cook said.
“It’s the battle over encryption. Some in Washington are hoping to undermine the ability of ordinary citizens to encrypt their data.”
He added: “If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it too.”

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