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Apple CEO Tim Cook warns potential EU regulations could 'destroy' App Store security

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'We are going to be standing up for the user,' said Apple's Tim Cook (left). Photo: Viva Technology
'We are going to be standing up for the user,' said Apple's Tim Cook (left). Photo: Viva Technology

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said certain regulations being considered in Europe for the tech sector could “destroy” App Store security.

Referring to the Digital Services and Digital Markets Act, Cook said that “there are good parts of tech regulation and there are parts that are not in the best interest of the user”.

One example of the latter is sideloading on the iPhone, an alternative way of getting apps on the device. This would “destroy its security and the privacy initiatives we have built into the app store like app tracking transparency,” Cook explained.

Speaking at the Viva Technology conference in Paris, he went on to say: "I worry deeply about privacy and security and we will constructively take part in the debate.”

He said one of the main reasons the Android operating system has 47 times more malware than the iOS is because the latter was designed in a way that there was only one store, and all apps were reviewed, keeping malware out of the ecosystem.

“Customers have told us that they value that a great deal," said Cook.

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He said there has arguably been very good regulation in Europe, a prime example being the General Data Protection Regulation, which set a global standard for data privacy, and he is optimistic about the rules that will be decided on in the end.

He said what matters most to Apple is the experience for the customer, and he thinks sideloading would have a major detrimental impact.

“We are going to be standing up for the user and we will see where it goes.”

He described privacy as a fundamental human right and said a "surveillance economy" must be avoided, because that creates "a world where everyone is worried someone else is watching them and they begin to think less and do less and no one wants to live in a world where freedom of expression is narrowed".

He also said that technology on its own is neutral – not good or bad – and it depends on the creativity and empathy of the inventor as to how it gets used.

Cook said the US is currently dealing with a huge deal of misinformation, especially around vaccination as well as "the stirring of the pot socially".

"There needs to be something done here, this is not an acceptable state of the world," he said, adding that "as I look at Digital Services there is some parts of it that will help this but I'm not sure anyone yet has a handle on how to fix it entirely I think it deserves more discussion and more debate".

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