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Academics probe Apple’s privacy settings and get lost and confused

by moneylab

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has criticized the US government’s targeting of TikTok, saying it is hypocritical to single out one social media platform for tracking users and not apply the same rule to all.

In an interview with news channel CNN, Woz was asked about Apple’s so-called “walled garden” approach to protecting users, and in response he said he was glad for the protection that he gets, and that Apple does a better job in this respect than other companies.

“And tracking you – tracking you is questionable. But my gosh, look at what we’re accusing TikTok of, and then go look at Facebook and Google and that’s how they make their businesses,” he added. “I mean, Facebook was a great idea. But then they make all their money just by tracking you and advertising, and Apple doesn’t really do that so much.”

Earlier this month, the US Congress passed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which aims to force TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to either sell off its US-based biz or face being banned from operating in the country.

“I don’t understand it, I don’t see why,” commented Woz. “What are we saying? We’re saying ‘Oh, you might be tracked by the Chinese.’ Well, they learned it from us.”

Similar points are made in an article in Nikkei Asia, which states that US social media apps have formed a key part of Washington’s global influence operations for many years, and have provided “unparalleled intelligence collection opportunities” and “helped to project certain American political and cultural values into foreign societies.”

Woz continued by saying that “If you have a principle [that] a person should not be tracked without them knowing it, you apply it the same to every company, or every country. You don’t say, ‘Here’s one case where we’re going to outlaw an app, but we’re not gonna do it in these other cases.’ So I don’t like the hypocrisy, and that’s obviously coming from a political realm.”

The engineering brains behind Apple’s early products such as the Apple I and II personal computers, Woz also became an early member of digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

He revealed in the interview that he largely avoids “the social web,” but gets a lot of fun out of watching TikTok “even if it’s just for rescuing dog videos and stuff.”

The Apple co-founder was also reported to have been hospitalized in Mexico City last November with a suspected stroke following a speech at the World Business Forum, but has apparently made a full recovery. ®

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