Tim Cook weighs in on Facebook data scandal, wants tougher privacy rules

Apple CEO Tim Cook is in China for a trade conference and has put forward his thoughts on the recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. As well as calling for tighter regulation on user profiling by apps and services, Cook also took the opportunity to underline Apple's approach to user privacy.

Cook's comments were reported by Bloomberg and the Apple boss said we're now at the stage where governments need to step in: "I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary," he said.

"The ability of anyone to know what you've been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life – from my own point of view it shouldn't exist," Cook continued.

User beware

Apple has always made a point of taking a different approach to privacy, by not monetizing user content or collecting more information on people running iOS and macOS than is absolutely necessary (you can read Apple's privacy policy in full here). According to Cook, that was to avoid incidents like the one current dominating the tech headlines.

"We've worried for a number of years that people in many countries were giving up data probably without knowing fully what they were doing and that these detailed profiles that were being built of them," says Cook.

"That one day something would occur and people would be incredibly offended by what had been done without them being aware of it," he added. “Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once." Facebook continues to scramble to limit the damage caused by scandal, promising that such data misuse will never happen again.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.