Apple boss Tim Cook has broken ranks with his Silicon Valley colleagues to fire a broadside at Google, Facebook and others by accusing them of selling user data for profit.
Speaking to the Electronic Privacy Information Centre, a civil liberties group, Cook warned consumers had been lulled into complacency’ and that tech firms are ‘gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it.’
Addressing the audience after accepting a ‘champion of freedom’ award from the group Cook said: “You might like these so-called free services, but we don’t think they’re worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data-mined and sold off for God knows what advertising purpose. And we think some day customers will see this for what it is.
“We don’t think you should ever have to trade [privacy] for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost. This is especially true now that we’re storing data about our health, our finances and our homes on our devices.
“We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy . . . morality demands it.”
Neither Google or Facebook were willing to be drawn into a war of words on the issue but have previously pointed out that advertising allowed them to offer their services for free.