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Ex-Facebook exec Alex Stamos calls out Apple’s Tim Cook over privacy



Tim Cook
Cook at the European Union’s privacy conference in


  • Former Facebook security boss Alex Stamos criticised
    Tim Cook’s hypocrisy after the Apple CEO launched a blistering
    attack on firms that flout user privacy.
  • Stamos pointed to Apple’s trade practices in China,
    which block privacy-enabling features like end-to-end
    encryption and installing VPNs.
  • He said for many tech companies, China is an “ethical

Tim Cook launched a blistering
attack on tech companies that flout user privacy in a speech on
, but a former Facebook exec has accused him of not
practising what he preaches.

Although Cook did not name Facebook or Google, they were a clear
target of his remarks in Brussels, where he said that people’s
data is “being weaponized against us with military efficiency” to
“enrich” companies that collect the information.

But Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former security chief who led its
internal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016
presidential election, said Apple is not above compromising user
privacy in China.

In a series of tweets, he said Apple blocks privacy-enabling
services like end-to-end encryption and installing VPNs on its
devices in China. Stamos also pointed out that Apple recently
moved its iCloud data to a
state-owned telecom company

Cook has
previously said in an interview
that Apple’s data stored in
China is still safely under lock and key. “We worked with a
Chinese company to provide iCloud, but the keys […] are ours,”
he told Vice earlier this month.

Stamos said China is an “ethical blindspot” for many tech
companies. He said firms take advantage of weaker workers’ rights
to manufacture their products, comply with China’s surveillance
laws, and ignore the environmental damage of Chinese Bitcoin

Stamos and Cook did agree on one thing: That the US needs a
robust privacy law and companies like Facebook and Twitter need
to minimize how much data they collect.

Stamos also criticised the media for allowing Cook to effectively
take a shot across Facebook’s bows by ignoring the diminished
right to privacy of Chinese citizens.

Business Insider has contacted Apple for comment.

Tech’s trouble with China has been in the spotlight recently
because of Google’s attempts to re-enter the market. Google has
drawn fire both
for its reported plans to
launch a censored search engine
to comply with Chinese laws.

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