With Facebook (FB) being badly bullied on the Wall Street playground, it was only natural that cool kid Apple (AAPL) would eventually get its turn to take a shot at the social network. Tim Cook, CEO of the iPhone maker, termed the Facebook data misuse situation ‘dire’ and called for stronger privacy regulations.
Cook stated that there was a need for well-crafted regulations that prevented the harvesting and usage of information without the knowledge and consent of users.
While the Apple chief’s suggestions are well-founded, it would do to note that earlier this month, Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates had mentioned that tech companies were inviting regulation due to their unwillingness to cooperate with the government.
Apple has always been a strong advocate for privacy and Gates said it was not right for tech companies to restrict the government from accessing legally requisite information hinting at Apple’s iPhone dispute with the FBI.
So there, Gates poked Cook and Cook poked Mark, and the circle goes on. However, when looking at all opinions, the question arises on how much regulation is necessary and where does it end.
Tim Cook might sound right to many in saying that companies should not be allowed to collect data and use them in any form of manipulation, but for companies to withhold mandatory information from the law in the name of privacy seems to be stretching things way too much. See, nobody’s perfect.
Here is where the term “well-crafted” becomes important.
Recall that the founder of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, too had called for regulation on tech companies. In the wake of the Facebook issue and looking at the increasing demands for regulation on various aspects such as user data, information, and privacy, certain changes can perhaps be expected in the near term for tech companies.
On the topic of a likely trade war between the US and China, Tim Cook hoped that calm heads would prevail, and also called for more open trade.
Note that in the event of a trade war, Apple would stand to lose significantly as China is its third largest market, and a majority of its assembly operations take place in the region. Apple, along with other tech companies, has been tackling new laws in China, and the iPhone maker faced criticism related to the storage of its iCloud data keys in China.
Technology is one of the largest items imported by the US from China, apart from electrical products.
While Cook has asked for calm heads, in this situation, he just might be holding his breath.