"Technology can magnify the worst human tendencies with rogue actors and even governments taking advantage of increasing access to personal data to incite violence", Cook said, adding that deeply personal data was being "weaponised against us with military efficiency". Cook did not specifically name Facebook and Google for their data collection and trading practices but it was clear who his targets were during the speech. This is the only way consumers can know what collection is legitimate and what isn't, said Cook.
He said USA policymakers should prioritize data minimization, transparency, access rights, and security, arguing US customers should have the right to always know what's being collected and should be able easily to correct and delete personal data.
He also accused the top internet platforms of ruining society by serving up fake news and becoming platforms to sow divisions among Americans.
He added, "this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself".
In California, lawmakers are looking to advance data regulations similar to the GDPR in the European Union by 2020.
For tech customers (which is basically everyone), data protection and security has become a hot topic as major companies have fallen prey to hackers. "Users should always know what data is being collected and what it is being collected for", he said.
Apple, which designs many of its products so that it can not see users' data, has largely avoided the data privacy scandals that have enmeshed its rivals Google and Facebook this year.
Data should belong to the person from whom it was gathered, not the gathering company.
Cook took aim at tech companies that may attempt to fight privacy regulation saying: "They may say to you our companies can never achieve technology's true potential if there were strengthened privacy regulations".
The EU's policy, which began to be enforced in May, aims to give EU citizens and residents greater control over how their personal data is used.
This is far from the first time Cook has been critical of the tech world's constant need to gather more and more personal information from consumers, but this might be his most explicit call for change.
Although Cook did not unpack what the potential dangers may be, big tech companies have come under fire for irresponsible use of artificially intelligent systems. Earlier this year, Cook took a jab at Facebook's business over the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, which exposed millions of users' personal data to a political consultancy. There may be an element of Facebook (fb) defense here-although Stamos did say his former employer needs to "collect less data"-but he does have a point about Apple's seemingly misaligned views on privacy in China and the rest of the world". A spokesperson for the company reiterated Egan's sentiments that she supports "strong and effective privacy legislation".
'This crisis is real. "At the same time, we are seeing, on a daily basis, how technology can harm as well as help".