Apple boss, Tim Cook has taken aim at Facebook once again by calling for greater regulation of tech companies who may be abusing user privacy with data collection.
In a wide-ranging interview, Cook told CNN that issues around privacy have ‘gotten totally out of control’ and that some form of regulation would be ‘fair’.
The comments come as Apple unveiled a slew of new features for its Safari browser that are aimed at limiting Facebook, Google and other tech giants from tracking users across the web.
Silicon Valley tech giants have been facing heightened scrutiny as consumers, officials and others continue to question their data collection practices.
Most recently, Facebook has dealt with the fallout from its Cambridge Analytica scandal, when it was discovered that 87 million users’ data had been harvested and shared with the Trump-linked research firm without their knowledge.
A recent New York Times report also claimed it had allowed third parties to access some data from the platform without user consent.
The controversy has resulted in more talk around the idea of regulating big tech.
‘Generally for me, I’m not a big fan of regulation,’ Cook told CNN. ‘I think self-regulation is best.’ But when it’s not working, you have to ask yourself what form of regulation might be good.
‘And I think most people are not aware of who is tracking them, how much they’re being tracked and the large amounts of detailed data that are out there about them, nor about the companies that possess the data,’ he added.
However, Cook said that his beliefs around government regulation of tech were ‘ not focused on any singular company,’ such as Facebook or Google.
‘We’re focused on the practice of tracking people when they don’t know they’re being tracked,’ Cook explained.
‘So what we believe is one of the most offensive things is when you are on another website but this website that you were on three or four times earlier is still tracking what you’re doing’
‘We don’t think that’s reasonable for people’, he added.
To that end, Apple released a new tool called ‘intelligent tracking prevention’ in the latest version of Safari that gives users greater options to limit how they’re being tracked from site to site.
The new data privacy tools will ‘shut down’ the ability of social networks such as Facebook to track users on the web, including blocking Like and Share buttons that can be used by social media platforms to monitor web users.
They’ll be available in the latest macOS 10.14 update, called ‘Mojave’, as well as iOS 12 for the iPhone and iPad.
The tools will target the practice called ‘browser fingerprinting’ which allow sites to track you based on your computer’s system configurations.
‘We’ve all seen these Like buttons, and Share buttons and these comment fields. Well, it turns out these can be used to track you, whether you click on them or not,’ he said.
‘And so this year we are shutting that down‘.