Apple co-founder: 'We've lost our privacy'

Apple co-founder: 'We've lost our privacy'
© Getty Images

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is blasting technology companies for abusing user privacy and is suggesting that regulators crack down on the industry's massive market power.

In a wide-ranging interview with Business Insider, Wozniak said that companies like Facebook have been deceiving internet users about their privacy.

“I'm bothered by what technology has become,” he said when asked about data scandals like the Cambridge Analytica leak and cybersecurity threats to elections around the world.


“We've lost our privacy and it's been abused.”

He also applauded the European Union for its efforts to reclaim back taxes from major companies. The EU has ordered Apple to pay Ireland $15 billion after regulators determined that the country had granted it illegal tax breaks. Apple is appealing the ruling.

Wozniak said he thinks companies like Google and Apple should “pay the same taxes as ordinary working people.”

“Wealthy companies and wealthy people pay governments, they bribe them and they make the rules,” he said. “The rules allow them to make great wealth but not be taxed the same and I just think it's wrong.”

He added that “in some cases” regulators should consider breaking up technology companies that have too much market power, preventing new startups from competing in their industries. As an alternative, Wozniak suggested regulators could place restrictions on companies like Facebook that would make it easier for users to control their data.

“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,” he said. “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.”