Apple recruits strong Facebook critic to keep up privacy standards

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple has reportedly hired Sandy Parakilas, an outspoken critic of privacy practices at Facebook, to serve as a product manager on its privacy team.

Sandy Parakilas


His job will be to work with teams throughout Apple to ensure new products guard privacy and minimize data collection, said Financial Times sources. The people didn't explain why Apple hired him specifically.

Parakilas formerly worked as a privacy and policy compliance monitor at Facebook until October 2012, later saying he felt that executives played down concerns he shared about the company's data sharing policies. Those have since come back to bite not just Facebook but even companies like Apple, which may have had its privacy safeguards bypassed.

He then went to Uber, but a little less than four years later signed up as the chief strategy officer for the Center for Humane Technology, which pushes for stricter government regulation of tech firms. It may be this role that gained Apple's attention.

In 2018, however, he was also a key source of evidence for the U.K. parliament as it delved into the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Analytica and Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan used a quiz app to collect data on Facebook users and their connected friends, the latter without their consent, enabling Analytica to build voter profiles for some 71 million Americans and a smaller amount of people overseas. The harvesting was discovered in 2015, but only made public by Facebook in March 2018. This drew the scrutiny of governments in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Some clients of Analytica -- now mostly defunct -- included the Presidential campaigns for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party during Mexico's 2018 general election.

Parakilas has accused companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google of profiting from a "perversion of democracy" by "racist demagogues and their dictator buddies."

Apple is now well-known for its pro-privacy stance, but has also sometimes found itself hamstrung. Its AI assistant, Siri, can't tap into the same wealth of data available to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, which also helps those AIs evolve to become more useful. This has led to Apple struggling to keep up via alternatives like purely on-device tracking and machine learning.
watto_cobra

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,106member
    This is great news. I hope he helps Apple by analyzing themselves better.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 4
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,449member
    There are many reasons why I'm pissed at Apple and might not want to stick with them the next time my Mac or iPhone needs replacement.    Price, repairability, inability to upgrade, bugs, etc.   But one reason that will keep me with Apple is their approach to personal privacy which even if flawed or unable to protect against the ridiculousness of some sites, seems better than what everyone else is doing.   There are some nice Android phones, but I'd be scared to death of actually using them.   
    agilealtitude
  • Reply 3 of 4
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,071member
    Hmm, he doesn't actually look that strong in the picture. More like a Sheldon Cooper level of strength but with dangerously spiky hair. But I guess it doesn't take much strength to kick Zuckerberg's ass. Go get 'em Sandy!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,604member
    dewme said:
    Hmm, he doesn't actually look that strong in the picture. More like a Sheldon Cooper level of strength but with dangerously spiky hair. But I guess it doesn't take much strength to kick Zuckerberg's ass. Go get 'em Sandy!
    Are you expecting him to cage fight or something?

    No wait, I just read the headline again.

    I see where you were aiming with that. My apologies. 

    edited January 10 watto_cobra
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