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Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) in Brussels on Tuesday, and called for a tough new U.S. data protection law to protect user privacy rights amidst a growing “data industrial complex.”

In the 20-minute speech, Tim Cook warned that “our own information from the everyday to the deeply personal is being weaponized against us with military efficiency. These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold.”

“Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm. We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance,” he added.

Tim Cook also applauded the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which took effect in May, as it places stricter rules on how personal data is utilized by companies. Cook also went on to say that Apple is a privacy-first approach to artificial intelligence and claims that the technology can benefit humanity greatly, but warned that “advancing AI by collecting huge personal profiles is laziness, not efficiency.” Back in August, the Apple CEO expressed that algorithm-led streaming services are “draining the humanity out of music.”

Furthermore, Tim Cook also criticized tech companies who “endorse reform in public and then resist and undermine it behind closed doors.” He added, “It’s time to face facts. We will never achieve technology’s true potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it.”

Read on the tweets below summarizing Tim Cooks’s speech, and for its entirety, click play above.

Last year, Tim Cook said that social media is “dividing” and “manipulating” us. Also, Apple is removing apps that share your location data to further showcase its commitment to privacy protection.

Words by Renz Ofiaza
Staff Writer

Renz Ofiaza is a Staff Writer at Highsnobiety and based in Brooklyn.

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