Apple CEO Tim Cook launched a scathing attack at his rivals Facebook and Google today, accusing them of building their businesses by compromising users' privacy.
Speaking at an event in Washington DC, 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."
Cook's comments were aimed at companies that collected extensive user-centric data either for promoting targeted advertisements or to placate governments eager to snoop on private citizens for security reasons.
While Google and Facebook, which are well known for their penchant for private information of users, are yet to react, Cook's words have been taken with a pinch of salt by firms which work for privacy protection. Dr Richard Tynan from Privacy International said, "It is encouraging to see Apple making the claim that they collect less information on us than their competitors. 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," he added.
This points to that fact that though Tim Cook may be bitter with rival platforms, Apple has not been too clean as far as respecting users' privacy is concerned. According to the BBC, Apple has been coaxing marketers around the world using their arsenal of private information, stating, "Whether you're looking for moms or business travellers or groups of your own customers, we've got you covered."
In their quest for market domination as well as to generate promising as revenues, major platforms have been using user privacy as a bargaining tool, probably giving it lesser respect than it deserves. While bringing in several features and campaigns that are centric to the user's needs are quite beneficial, sharing user data with businesses could in the long run result in the same information falling in wrong hands.
Like Tim Cook rightly said, "If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it too."