Amid dozens of ongoing United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) investigations regarding data breaches and privacy concerns, there has been a lot of buzz related to data protection in the tech circles as well. Some tech giant managers also discussed the issues on different forums and presented their personal as well as professional viewpoints. Recently, the Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook while addressing the young graduates at Stanford University on Saturday, openly criticized Silicon Valley companies for not taking the responsibility for the chaos created by them.
While not directing taking name of any tech company, Cook talked about privacy violations and data breaches in his commencement speech that, interestingly, was made in the Valley’s own backyard. However, the Apple CEO did make a reference towards Theranos, the disgraced tech startup that made false claims related to making a medical breakthrough and ultimately went on the cease its operations during the last year after getting exposed.
Cook criticized how the industry was becoming more and more famous for a highly unprofessional attitude-that one can claim credit for the good but not accept the responsibility if something goes wrong as part of the process. He termed this phenomenon as “a less noble innovation”. He talked about all this in context of latest privacy violations, data breaches, turning a blind eye towards hate speech, propagation of fake news and “the false miracles in exchange for a single drop of blood”. If someone builds a chaos factory, he said, he should not be able to dodge the responsibility for the resultant chaos.
Apple is known for advertising privacy as one of the main features of its products, especially iPhone, and a privacy-focused sign-on feature was also released recently by Apple to compete with Facebook and Google.
Cook did not hold himself back from criticizing digital surveillance and told the young graduates that Silicon Valley would have finished before it was started in the presence of such surveillance.
The Apple CEO believes that the basic human freedom may be lost if humans accept it as normal that all our data can be hacked, aggregated and sold or leaked at any point in the future.
Lastly, he touched some other topics in his speech, such as leaving a better legacy and strategies related to following one’s own path for achieving success in the world.