Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: ‘We’ve lost our privacy’ to tech giants

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak criticized tech companies for their treatment of personal data, suggesting that internet users have lost their privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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“I’m bothered by what technology has become. … We used to be able to have conversations in secret with people,” Wozniak said when asked about Facebook’s data breach in an interview with Business Insider published on Thursday. “We lost our security a long time ago. We've lost our privacy, and it's been abused.”

Facebook has faced international scrutiny after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a British analytics firm that worked with President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, improperly accessed the data of up to 87 million users. The disclosure prompted Congress to question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill and led the social media giant to make several changes to its data privacy practices.

Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, told USA Today in April that he had deleted his Facebook account because of concern that the company was exploiting private data for advertising purposes.

Asked if tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon were monopolies that should be broken up, Wozniak said it was worth considering “in some cases.” The 67-year-old added that regulators could consider adding rules that would open tech giants to more competition from industry rivals.

“You could take a company like Facebook and say: ‘You'll have to make it easy for people to move to a competitive website that does similar things,’ ” Wozniak said. “You have to give somebody the ability to exit with a list of all their friends and every one of them should get a notification that, if you want to go there, they'll all be friends there. “Make it an equal competition. So you have to compete based on the quality of the product and not based on the fact that you've got someone trapped.”