Tim Cook: The Free Market Has Failed, Government Regulation of User Data Is Now “Inevitable”

November 19, 2018, 10:33 AM UTC

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the free market isn’t working when it comes to privacy — and that government regulation of tech companies and the way they store user data is now “inevitable.”

“I’m a big believer in the free market,” Cook told Axios. “But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here.”

This isn’t the first time Cook has predicted that government regulation of tech companies is on the horizon. Responding to the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, he told Recode and MSNBC, “I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation. However, I think we’re beyond that here.”

Implicit in Cook’s assertion of market failure is a critique of the way Facebook has handled user data. In the Recode MSNBC interview, Cook explained why Apple would never use the Facebook model: “We could make a ton of money if we monetized our customers, if our customers were our product. We’ve elected not to do that… We’re not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also admitted that “self-regulation doesn’t work” in testimony before Congress in April, but warned, “we need to be careful about the regulation we put in place.”

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