Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in a speech at the Brussels’ International Data Privacy Day event, beautifully articulated how technology does not need to undermine privacy.
He stated “Technology does not need vast troves of personal data stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it, and we’re here today “because the path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom.”
His full speech at the Brussels’ International Data Privacy Day event is worth a read.
Often, in the technology world, we ask “is it possible and can we do it” and not enough introspection to ask “should we do it”. Understanding the consequences can help us make better decisions that promotes the wellness of society in the long-run.
Undermining privacy is a detriment. It contributes to the unfair manipulation of people, in what they know, believe, and how they act.
Marketing is but the first layer, convincing people to spend money, but that leads into much deeper capabilities to manipulate what people believe, how they will vote, what facts they will discard, and how they will treat themselves and others. It is a power that rivals genetic manipulation. Gathering infinite sums of data about people is the foundation to that. Digital technology is a supremely effective tool.
As great as digital transformation has become, to revolutionize and bring unimaginable benefits to our world, it also brings with it risks. One of the most significant is that of undermining individual privacy.
The privacy challenges are real and the biggest barrier is awareness of the depth of what is at stake. It is momentous when the leader of one of the most influential and respected technology companies not only speaks about the challenges, but acts to protect people and bend-the-curve when it comes to finding that right balance of privacy.
Apple’s stance and efforts to improve privacy are helping us all.