Ex-Facebook security chief calls out Tim Cook and Apple's practices in China


Ex-Facebook security chief calls out Tim Cook and Apple's practices in China

·        Former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos said on Twitter Apple needs to "come clean" about how it blocks ways to provide a more secure and private way to access apps in China.
·        Stamos was responding to comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who spoke harshly about the data collection and use practices of social media companies for advertising.
·        "We don't want the media to create an incentive structure that ignores treating Chinese citizens as less-deserving of privacy protections because a CEO is willing to bad-mouth the business model of their primary competitor, who uses advertising to subsidize cheaper devices," Stamos tweeted.

By Michelle Castillo October 24, 2018 CNBC.com

Former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos called out Apple over its actions to limit access to apps in China.

"We don't want the media to create an incentive structure that ignores treating Chinese citizens as less-deserving of privacy protections because a CEO is willing to bad-mouth the business model of their primary competitor, who uses advertising to subsidize cheaper devices," Stamos said in a series of tweets responding to recent comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Cook spoke about privacy regulations at a keynote speech during the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) conference in Brussels on Wednesday. He called out social media companies for abusing user privacy to create algorithms to "serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into hardened convictions."

Though Stamos said he agreed with "almost everything" Cook said, in a series of tweets he called out Apple for blocking the ability to download VPN and encrypted messaging apps in China, which could provide ways to connect to the internet and send messages privately and without surveillance.

"We don't want the media to create an incentive structure that ignores treating Chinese citizens as less-deserving of privacy protections because a CEO is willing to bad-mouth the business model of their primary competitor, who uses advertising to subsidize cheaper devices," Stamos tweeted in an apparent reference to Google and its Android operating system for smartphones.

Stamos called for companies like Google, Twitter and his former employer Facebook to collect less data and the need for strong privacy laws in the U.S., in agreement with Cook. However, he also said Apple needs to "come clean" about its practices in China.

"Apple needs to come clean on how iCloud works in China and stop setting damaging precedents for how willing American companies will be to service the internal security desires of the Chinese Communist Party," he tweeted.

See his comments below. Stamos did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
 · 11h
 I agree with almost everything Tim Cook said in his privacy speech today, which is why it is so sad to see the media credulously covering his statements without the context of Apple's actions in China.https://twitter.com/tim_cook/status/1055035534769340418 …


Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
The missing context? Apple uses hardware-rooted DRM to deny Chinese users the ability to install the VPN and E2E messaging apps that would allow them to avoid pervasive censorship and surveillance. Apple moved iCloud data into a PRC-controlled joint venture with unclear impacts.

1:22 PM - Oct 24, 2018

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
 · 11h
Replying to @alexstamos
China is an ethical blind spot for many in tech: We ignore the working conditions under which our beautiful devices are made, the censorship and surveillance necessary to ship apps there, the environmental externalities of coal-powered Chinese Bitcoin farms.

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
We don't want the media to create an incentive structure that ignores treating Chinese citizens as less-deserving of privacy protections because a CEO is willing to bad-mouth the business model of their primary competitor, who uses advertising to subsidize cheaper devices.

1:22 PM - Oct 24, 2018

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
 · 11h
Replying to @alexstamos

Cook is right, the US needs a strong privacy law and privacy regulator, and advertising companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter need to collect less data and minimize more often.

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
Apple needs to come clean on how iCloud works in China and stop setting damaging precedents for how willing American companies will be to service the internal security desires of the Chinese Communist Party.

1:22 PM - Oct 24, 2018

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
 · 11h
Replying to @alexstamos
Let's look at some of the most fawning coverage (thanks @Techmeme)!

In @techcrunch by @riptari, "Tim Cook Makes Blistering Attack". The word China isn't included https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/24/apples-tim-cook-makes-blistering-attack-on-the-data-industrial-complex/ …

Apple's Tim Cook makes blistering attack on the "data industrial complex"
Apple’s 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...

techcrunch.com

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
The Verge, @jjvincent. "Cook has long advocated for strong standards in data privacy..." Really? Would you say he equally advocates everywhere for that?https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/24/18017842/tim-cook-data-privacy-laws-us-speech-brussels …

1:22 PM - Oct 24, 2018

Tim Cooks warns of ‘data-industrial complex’ in call for comprehensive federal privacy laws
‘Our own information is being weaponized against us with military efficiency’

theverge.com

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
 · 11h
Replying to @alexstamos
In the @washingtonpost, where I would honestly expect better since tech concessions to the PRC are a huge, bi-partisan area of concern for Congress. Same with @thehill.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/apples-tim-cook-delivers-searing-critique-of-silicon-valley/2018/10/24/5adaa586-d6dd-11e8-8384-bcc5492fef49_story.html?utm_term=.c75f21d2adaa … https://thehill.com/policy/technology/412888-apple-chief-rips-data-industrial-complex …

Apple's Tim Cook rips ‘data industrial complex,’ backs privacy laws
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday warned that personal information is being "weaponized" and “has exploded into a data industrial complex.”

thehill.com

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
@nytimes reprints a @Reuters article, no mention.https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/10/24/business/24reuters-eu-privacy-apple.html …

1:22 PM - Oct 24, 2018

Apple Boss Takes Aim at 'Weaponization' of Customer Data
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook on Wednesday said customer data was being "weaponized with military efficiency" by companies to increase profit and called for a federal privacy law in the United...

nytimes.com


Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
 · 11h
Replying to @alexstamos
@nytimes reprints a @Reuters article, no mention.https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/10/24/business/24reuters-eu-privacy-apple.html …


Apple Boss Takes Aim at 'Weaponization' of Customer Data
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook on Wednesday said customer data was being "weaponized with military efficiency" by companies to increase profit and called for a federal privacy law in the United...

nytimes.com

Alex Stamos
@alexstamos
Gotta catch a flight. I think the tech press can cheer on calls for more privacy regulation in the US, but they can also use this moment to advocate for the privacy rights of not just Chinese citizens, but those of countries who are looking to follow the PRC model of control.

1:22 PM - Oct 24, 2018

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