Apple Hires Prominent Facebook Critic for Internal-Facing Product Privacy Role

Apple has recruited a former Facebook employee who went on to
become one of the social network’s most ardent critics, reports

The Financial Times
(paywall). Sandy Parakilas monitored
the privacy and policy compliance of Facebook developers for 18
months before leaving the social network in 2012.


Sandy Parakilas talking to Bloomberg

During his time at the company, Parakilas felt his concerns about
its data-sharing policies were downplayed, according to
FT.

Last year, following the
Cambridge Analytica scandal
, Parakilas also gave evidence
to the British parliament’s digital, culture, media, and sport
committee, and told MPs that Facebook’s data protection
practices were “far outside the bounds of what should have been
allowed” between 2010 and 2014.

Mr Parakilas has urged the tech industry to improve its data
protection practices, increase the use of encrypted messaging
and “verify the truth of statements that can be viewed by
millions of people”.

“We now live in a world where racist demagogues and their
dictator buddies can cynically exploit our tools to seize
power,” he wrote in a blog post in late 2016. “There is no
such thing as a ‘neutral platform’. Facebook, Twitter and
Google all profited from this perversion of democracy.”

According to FT‘s sources, Parakilas will
work in Apple’s privacy team as a product manager, an
internal-facing role designed to ensure that new products in
development protect users’ privacy and minimize data collection.

Apple has made much of its privacy focus in recent years. In
2018, CEO Tim Cook singled out user privacy a “core
value
” of Apple’s that reaches way back to before
smartphones had become a feature of people’s daily lives.

Recently, in the heart of Las Vegas where the Consumer
Electronics Show is currently underway, Apple
put up a giant sign
touting the security of its devices to
remind the tech industry of its heavy emphasis on privacy.

Apple does not have a presence at the show, but CES attendees
will be seeing products from companies with less of a privacy
focus like Google and Amazon.

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