IBM CEO on Silicon Valley privacy

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IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty had choice words for Silicon Valley companies, as reported by Bloomberg:

Without naming company names, Rometty pointed to the “irresponsible handling of personal data by a few dominant consumer-facing platform companies” as the cause of a “trust crisis” between users and tech companies, according to an advanced copy of her remarks.

And we all know the companies to which she refers.

Rometty’s comments, given at a Brussels event with top EU officials Monday, echoed recent statements by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who in October slammed Silicon Valley rivals over their use of data, equating their services to “surveillance.”

It is.

… urged governments to target regulation at those companies.

Legislation isn’t always the answer, but it increasingly feels like the only rational outcome for immature companies unwilling to regulate themselves. I say unwilling instead of unable, as it’s entirely a choice they’ve made.

IBM meanwhile has seen revenue decline since Rometty took the CEO role in 2012, largely due to falling sales in existing hardware, software and services offerings. She has since been trying to steer IBM toward more modern businesses, such as the cloud, artificial intelligence, and security software.

I’m like a broken record on this point by now, but this is the rub. Being a good privacy actor isn’t rewarded with profits. That’s the core economic issue that needs to change.

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