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By Bruce Sussman
Wed | Oct 24, 2018 | 8:47 AM PDT

It is time to stop acting like whatever's happening with our information behind the scenes is okay.

Truthfully, most of us don't know what, exactly, is happening behind the scenes with our data.

But Apple CEO Tim Cook sure does—and he just spilled the beans on the "billions of dollars" being made each day from our personal details. "Our own information is being weaponized against us with military efficiency," warns Cook. 

Apple's CEO spoke to European leaders in Brussels this week, and we encourage you to watch his 20-minute keynote on privacy and what he calls the new "data industrial complex." If you are short on time, read some of his key comments below. It is time to take this issue seriously.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on privacy and data used against us

"Every day billions of dollars change hands and countless decisions are made on the basis of our likes and dislikes, our friends and families, our relationships and conversations, our wishes and fears, our hopes and dreams. These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold. Taken to its extreme, this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is then run through algorithms that show increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into hardened convictions."

Apple CEO after he talked about the misuse of technology

"At the same timewe see vividly, painfully, how technology can harm rather than help. Platforms and algorithms that promise to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies. Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false. This crisis is real, it is not imagined, or exaggerated, or crazy. And those of us who believe in technology's power for good must not shrink from this moment."

Apple CEO on privacy law

"We at Apple are in full support of a comprehensive federal privacy law in the United States."

These statements from Apple are in stark contrast to efforts by other tech giants and household names. Here are 8 companies that tried to stop California's tough new privacy law when it looked like it was headed for a ballot fight. (Notice that Apple was not among them.)

In the end, the California state legislature passed the law instead of sending it to the voters to decide. Consumers there will have much greater control over their data beginning in 2020.

Top big data problems now

What we're really talking about here is big data.

Well, big data and analytics—which essentially is how that data is sliced, diced, and used. According to The Privacy Professor CEO Rebecca Herold, here are the top 10 big data problems that still have not been solved. Her article is a fantastic resource, which we encourage you to check out: 10 Big Data Analytics and Privacy Problems Now.

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