Cook did not mention triggers for this crisis, but his comments clearly reference recent events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the personal data of millions of Facebook users was harvested by a consulting firm with the aim of swaying users’ political views. Similarly, while Cook never mentioned by name tech companies like Facebook and Google, it’s clear that these were targets in his criticism of indiscriminate data collection.
Cook’s argument has the virtue of not only being right but also aligning very well with Apple’s competitive advantages. Privacy laws will hurt rivals like Facebook, Google, and Amazon much more than they will hurt Apple, which has already made strong privacy one of its chief messages.
Stronger data privacy is also something that most customers (and thus, voters) will probably get behind given the staggering number of data breaches over the past several years; the naysayers, by comparison, are disproportionately composed of the corporations that profit from collecting and selling personal information and the politicians they lobby.