CEO Tim Cook has joined the chorus of voices warning that data itself is being weaponized again people and societies — arguing that the trade in digital data has exploded into a “data industrial complex”.
Cook did not namecheck the adtech elephants in the room: Google, Facebook and other background data brokers that profit from privacy-hostile business models. But his target was clear.
“Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency,” warned Cook. “These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold.
“Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm.”
“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance,” he added.
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