Apple’s Tim Cook: antitrust regulations targeted at apps would hurt privacy

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Apple CEO Tim Cook said proposed new privacy and antitrust regulations could put the privacy and security of iPhone users at risk.

Cook spoke at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit on Tuesday (April 12) in Washington.

He said Apple supports strong and comprehensive national privacy law, but said he was “deeply concerned” about regulations “that would compromise privacy and security in service of another purpose.” That goal would be competition.

In the name of competition, Cook said, some are taking steps to allow apps without privacy protections to circumvent App Store safeguards and “track users against their will.”

One example is the Open Markets Act, which would reduce the control Apple and Google have over their respective app stores.

Cook hit back at the argument that new regulations targeting app stores would simply give people more choice and cause no harm. He said removing a more secure option would leave users with less choice, not more.

He said he wanted to make it clear that Apple supports competition that drives innovation and recognizes that supporters of antitrust rules have good intentions. But if Apple is forced to allow unverified apps on its phones, he said, the unintended consequences will be “profound”.

He said Apple was obligated to speak up and would continue to speak out to convince well-meaning policymakers not to infringe on privacy in the process.

Regulations must be developed to protect basic rights, he said, and there is much to be gained if Washington gets it right. ■


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