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Tech Firms Must Start Taking Responsibility for Their Actions, Says Apple CEO Tim Cook

According to Cook, in a world without digital privacy, even if you have done nothing wrong other than think differently, you begin to censor yourself

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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an event to announce new products, Oct. 30, 2018, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. VOA

Taking a dig at tech giants like Facebook over privacy violations and the unabated spread of fake news, Apple CEO Tim Cook has asked fellow technologists to start taking responsibility for their actions.

During a speech at the Stanford University on Sunday, Cook said that whether you like it or not, what you build and what you create defines who you are.

“It feels a bit crazy that anyone should have to say this. But if you’ve built a chaos factory, you can’t dodge responsibility for the chaos. Taking responsibility means having the courage to think things through,” Cook told students.

“We see it every day now, with every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech. Fake news poisoning our national conversation. The false promise of miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood. Too many seem to think that good intentions excuse away harmful outcomes.”

“If we accept as normal and unavoidable that everything in our lives can be aggregated, sold or even leaked in the event of a hack, then we lose so much more than data. We lose the freedom to be human,” Cook noted.

His concerns came in the wake of several users’ data violation being reported almost on a daily basis. Silicon Valley has faced fierce criticism in recent years over disinformation, privacy breaches and the misuse of data.

According to The New York Times, the Department of Justice is set to probe Google while the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will take on Facebook and Amazon, seeking great scrutiny from tech companies related to users’ privacy and unfair market practices.

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FILE – The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Facebook is already under investigation by the US FTC over its handling of user data. The social networking platform is expecting a fine of up to $5 billion.

“Here’s a plain fact — Silicon Valley is responsible for some of the most revolutionary inventions in modern history aBut lately, it seems, this industry is becoming known for a less noble innovation: The belief that you can claim credit without accepting responsibility,” Cook told students.

According to Cook, in a world without digital privacy, even if you have done nothing wrong other than think differently, you begin to censor yourself.

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“Not entirely at first. Just a little, bit by bit. To risk less, to hope less, to imagine less, to dare less, to create less, to try less, to talk less, to think less. The chilling effect of digital surveillance is profound, and it touches everything”.

He said that if we believe that freedom means an environment where great ideas can take root, where they can grow and be nurtured without fear of irrational restrictions or burdens, then it’s our duty to change course.

“Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life. Don’t try to emulate the people who came before you to the exclusion of everything else, contorting into a shape that doesn’t fit,” he said. (IANS)

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Tech Giants to Face US House Hearings on Anti-trust, Cryptocurrency

Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites, according to the European Commission

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The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook are set to face two US House hearings on anti-trust issues and Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency Libra.

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Judiciary will discuss anti-trust issues while the Senate Banking Committee will discuss Facebook’s digital currency ‘Libra’ that is slated to arrive in 2020, CNET reported on Sunday.

Amazon is often criticized for undercutting competition on price.

“Facebook and Google have struggled with questions around privacy, free speech and election interference. Amazon and Apple meanwhile have grown so large and powerful, some lawmakers say they’ve become monopolies that need to be split up,” said the report.

Facebook has reached a whopping $5 billion settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the Cambridge Analytica privacy violations.

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FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The FTC opened a probe last year into the matter after the social networking giant admitted Cambridge Analytica acquired detailed personal information of more than 87 million Facebook users via an academic researcher.

The report of the $5 billion settlement, the largest ever by the FTC against a tech company over privacy issues after a $22.5 million settlement with Google in 2012.

The Facebook case is being looked at as a measure of President Donald Trump’s administration’s willingness to regulate US tech companies.

Also Read: Muslims, Dalits and Tribals to Apply for Arms License for Self Defence

The European Union’s anti-trust regulators in March fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites, according to the European Commission. (IANS)