Skip to main content

‘The time is now to have a federal privacy bill,’ says Tim Cook

‘The time is now to have a federal privacy bill,’ says Tim Cook


Apple’s CEO wants regulators to focus on privacy, not on breaking up Big Tech

Share this story

Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Congress has been struggling for years to pass a federal data privacy law, but on Friday, lawmakers gained an unexpected ally in Apple CEO Tim Cook.

In an interview with ABC News, the executive said big tech companies haven’t corrected their mistakes, and it’s time for the government to step in — ideally with a federal privacy bill. “I think we can all admit that when you’ve tried to do something and companies haven’t self policed, that it’s time to have rigorous regulation,” he explained, “and I think we’ve passed that time.”

But while many are focused on splitting up companies like Facebook into separate, smaller entities, Cook also said regulators are too focused on antitrust action and not focused enough on data privacy. Breaking up big tech companies without paying attention to how much user data is still being collected is pointless, he said. “Unless you take an action where there’s materially less data in the companies that are left,” Cook told ABC, “you haven’t done anything.”

The news comes as tech giants including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google face numerous antitrust investigations from the Justice Department as well as many state attorneys general. The companies are being accused of anti-competitive business practices that may have hurt consumers.

Cook admitted that if one of the companies is found to be a monopoly, and regulators can prove they’ve abused that monopoly power, a breakup might be necessary. “That’s for the courts and regulators to decide, not for me to decide,” he added. “But in the case where the answer is yes there’s a monopoly, yes have abused, then the remedy for one of those is break up.”

Cook’s comments come days after Apple broke ground on a new campus in Austin, Texas, that’s expected to cost $1 billion. In anticipation of the event, Cook and President Trump toured an electronics factory outside Austin, to highlight US manufacturing.

The tour shone a spotlight on Cook’s unusual relationship with President Trump, which has largely escaped public scrutiny. Cook sits on the president’s Workforce Policy Advisory Board and has used this relationship to advocate for favorable policies toward Apple.

That relationship also prevented Cook from correcting a number of inaccurate statements made by Trump during the tour. “I would always talk about Apple, that I want to see Apple building plants in the United States, and that’s what’s happening,” the President told reporters after the factory tour. In fact, the plant in place is not owned by Apple, and has been manufacturing Mac Pros since 2013.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.