The CEO of IBM — once Apple’s biggest rival — agrees with Tim Cook about regulating tech giants who gobble up massive amounts of user data for what amounts to surveillance on users.
Echoing Cooks’s words last month, IBM’s chief exec Ginni Rometty addressed top EU officials at an event in Brussels on Monday. Rometty said that the, “irresponsible handling of personal data by a few dominant consumer-facing platform companies” has caused a “trust crisis” in customers.
Ginni Rometty was in Europe for a two-day visit, during which she met the EU’s privacy chief Vera Jourova and EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. Rometty suggested that governments try to solve the problem by regulating consumer-facing web platforms. These include search engines and social media companies. Although she didn’t name specific companies, that would appear to include the likes of Google and Facebook.
“Dominant online platforms have more power to shape public opinion than newspapers or the television ever had, yet they face very little regulation or liability,” Rometty said. She also noted that, “tackling the real problem means using a regulatory scalpel, not a sledgehammer, to avoid collateral damage that would hurt the wider, productive and more responsible parts of the digital economy.”
Agreeing with Apple
As noted, Ginni Rometty isn’t the first person to put forward this argument. Tim Cook recently called for the U.S. to adopt “comprehensive” privacy laws similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. He went on to suggest that the “surveillance” of tech giants, “should make us uncomfortable and unsettle us.”
Whether Cook and Rometty’s concerns will have any impact at the legislative level remains to be seen. However, when you’re dealing with two of the oldest and most established tech giants out there, their words have to carry a bit of weight. We’ll follow this story with interest.