Apple chief exec emerges as unlikely supporter of GDPR

The controversial GDPR rules that have caused ructions across the digital marketing world have found an unexpected supporter this week, with none other than Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook praising the European data regulations.

The comments, given at a European Union (EU) privacy conference in Brussels on Wednesday, come as the US is suspected of heading towards similar restrictions, while Apple attempts to mend a difficult relationship with the EU following a clash over an alleged 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes.

Bloomberg reported how the chief exec “lashed into” big tech competitors and their data collecting practices. Cook sought to distinguish Apple from rival tech firms that collect large swathes of data, such as Google and Facebook – two corporations under scrutiny for recent user data breaches.

“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences,” he said. “This is surveillance and these stockpiles of data serve only to make rich the companies that collect them. This should make us uncomfortable.

“We at Apple believe that privacy is a fundamental human right but also recognise that not everyone sees it that way. The desire to put profits over privacy is nothing new.”

The speech came as many tech firms are bracing themselves for similar federal laws to come in place in the US. At the current time, state-by-state laws are patchy, and could be superseded by a uniform federal law.

The news comes little more than a week after it emerged that social media giant Twitter was under investigation for perceived GDPR failings.

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