Apple CEO Tim Cook to Speak at European Data Protection Conference in Brussels Later This Month

Apple CEO Tim Cook will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, the European Data Protection Supervisor announced today.

Cook will give the keynote speech at "Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life," a public session of the conference set to take place on Wednesday, October 24.

"We are delighted that Tim has agreed to speak at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. Tim has been a strong voice in the debate around privacy, as the leader of a company which has taken a clear privacy position, we look forward to hearing his perspective. He joins an already superb line up of keynote speakers and panellists who want to be part of a discussion about technology serving humankind."
The session Cook is headlining is meant to start a global discussion on "right and wrong in the development and use of digital technology."

As TechCrunch points out, Cook's attendance at the conference comes as U.S. lawmakers are considering online data protection rules similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Europe implemented earlier this year.

Apple is a major advocate for privacy and the tech company that is the most invested in protecting consumer data. Cook and other Apple executives speak often on the importance of consumer data privacy.

In a June interview, for example, Cook said that privacy "from an American point of view" is one of the "key civil liberties" defining what it means to be American. He also often points out that Apple's customers are not its product.

"We could make a ton of money if we monetized our customers," Cook said in March. "If our customers were our product. We've elected not to do that. We're not going to traffic in your personal life."

Just yesterday, Cook spoke passionately about privacy and the need for government privacy protections in a VICE News Tonight interview.
I see privacy as one of the most important issues of the 21st century. We're at a stage now where more information is available about you online and on your phone than is in your house. Chances are, your phone knows what you've been browsing, knows your friends, knows your relationships, has all of your photos.

I mean, just think about this and the magnitude of information. We take that seriously. I'm not a pro regulation kind of person, I believe in a free market deeply when the free market doesn't produce a result that's great for society, you have to ask yourself what do we need to do? And I think some level of government is important to come out of it at this time.
Cook went on to explain that there's a need to work with Congress to make sure that tech companies are doing their jobs of helping regulators come up to speed on what's possible in terms of the data being collected and how it's being used.

Apple just recently sent longtime employee and Vice President of Software Technology Bud Tribble to a Senate Commerce Committee to offer support for federal privacy regulations, where he explained Apple's approach to privacy and the company's effort to minimize the amount of data collected.
To Apple, privacy means much more than having the right not to share your personal information. Privacy is about putting the user in control when it comes that information. That means that users can decide whether to share personal information and with whom. It means that they understand how that information will be used. Ultimately, privacy is about living in a world where you can trust that your decisions about how your personal information is shared and used are being respected. We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, which should be supported by both social norms and the law.
Cook is likely to share many of the same sentiments again at the data protection conference he's attending later this month.

Other "Debating Ethics" panel attendees will include World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, philosopher Anita Allen, former chief justice of India Jagdish Singh, HKUST AI research director Pascale Fung, and computer philosophy writer Jaron Lanier.

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