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库克强调科技业隐私问题,暗讽Facebook

David Z. Morris 2018年05月22日

库克强调,苹果没有涉及近些年重创科技乐观主义情绪的隐私问题。

 Duke University via YouTube

5月13日,苹果公司首席执行官蒂姆·库克在获得工商管理学硕士(MBA)学位的杜克大学发表了毕业典礼演讲。他借机重申,虽然其他科技企业未能处理好隐私问题,苹果仍然努力保护用户隐私,也为该校教育做了宣传。

演讲开头,库克阐述了硅谷圈内自我感觉良好的道德观。他说:“在科技的帮助下,人人都拥有工具、潜力和影响力创造一个更美好的世界。我们生活在一个最幸福的时代。”库克还回顾了苹果的历史,鼓励学生们缅怀苹果创始人史蒂夫·乔布斯的同时也要“敢于追求新想法”。

库克强调,苹果没有涉及近些年重创科技乐观主义情绪的隐私问题。他说:“有一种观点认为,要充分利用科技就要牺牲隐私权,我们不同意,所以选择了不同的道路,收集用户数据越少越好,并且尽可能给予关怀和尊重。因为我们知道,数据属于用户。”

这席话很显然暗指社交媒体巨头Facebook。近来Facebook因为数据分析公司Cambridge Analytica爆出的丑闻引发了公众关注,人们意识到社交媒体的风险不仅影响个人隐私,还关乎公共整体利益。库克最近一直抨击Facebook,但多年来苹果确实相当重视隐私保护。早在2010年乔布斯就曾批评谷歌收集数据。硅谷知名风投机构Andreessen Horowitz的合伙人本尼迪克特·伊文斯预计,苹果会继续保持传统。

预测:今年苹果的全球开发者大会(WWDC)主题演讲中,如果提一次隐私你就喝一口饮料,演讲没结束饮料肯定没了。

——本尼迪克特·伊文斯

但别以为库克强调隐私是纯粹利他。苹果和Facebook的业务有着本质区别。苹果靠出售高端硬件获利,而Facebook盈利则是靠在开放网络上打广告。更适合与苹果对比的可能是亚马逊。亚马逊的平板电脑Fire售价不到苹果平板iPad的一半,部分原因在于多个版本的Fire都能通过向客户有针对性地投放广告获得补贴。从这个角度看,苹果强调保护隐私也预示着,以后有能力支付更高成本的人才能摆脱数据追踪,如果不愿意花钱隐私就得不到保护。

库克在讲话中含蓄地承认,将来确实可能出现更广泛的社会不平等现象。“你们接受了世界一流的教育……所以拥有少数人才能享受的机遇。你们有独特的素质,也就要承担独特的责任,要开创更好的未来。但并非易事,需要很大的勇气。勇气不仅可以帮你们实现人生的意义,也给你们力量改善他人的生活。”

库克说这些显然是为了鼓舞学生。但现在看来,所谓科技业领袖改善世人生活可能没过去那么唬人了。(龙8国际|官网)

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

 

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the commencement speech on May 13th at Duke University, where he earned his MBA. He demonstrated the quality of that education by leveraging the opportunity to remind the world of Apple’s commitment to user privacy—and other tech companies’ privacy failings.

Cook’s speech, opened with a version of Silicon Valley’s feel-good ethos. “Aided by technology,” Cook said, “Every individual has the tools, potential, and reach to build a better world. That makes this the best time to be alive.” Cook also gave nods to Apple’s history, urging students to “dare to think different” before offering a remembrance of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Cook also tried to distance Apple from the dark clouds that have sullied that techno-optimism in recent years. “We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy. So we choose a different path, collecting as little of your data as possible, [and] being thoughtful and respectful when it’s in our care. Because we know that it belongs to you.”

That seems most obviously a shot at Facebook. The social media giant’s recent Cambridge Analytica scandal seems to have finally woken the public up to the risks social media poses not just to individual privacy, but public discourse as a whole. Cook has been unrelenting in his criticism of Facebook recently, but Apple has placed a high priority on privacy for years. Steve Jobs even took shots at Google’s data collection back in 2010—and Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict Evans predicts that the emphasis will continue.

Prediction: if you have a drink every time Apple mentions privacy at this year’s WWDC keynote, you won’t make it to the end.

— Benedict Evans

But don’t mistake Cook’s words for pure altruism. Apple is in a fundamentally different business than Facebook, making profits by selling high-end hardware, instead of advertising on an open-access network. A more direct contrast might be with Amazon, which sells Fire tablets that cost less than half as much as an Apple iPad—in part because many versions of the Fire are subsidized by delivering targeted advertising. From that perspective, Apple’s focus on privacy portends a future in which some people can afford to escape digital tracking, and others can’t.

Cook implicitly acknowledged the broader social context of rising inequality that could lead to that future. “The world-class education you’ve received . . . gives you opportunities that few people have. You are uniquely qualified, and therefore uniquely responsible, to build a better way forward. That won’t be easy. It will require great courage. But that courage will not only help you live your life to the fullest, it will empower you to transform the lives of others.”

That passage was clearly intended to be inspirational—but the idea of tech leaders trying to transform other people’s lives may now be less dazzling than it once was.

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