Tim Cook said Tuesday that tech antitrust measures could "undermine privacy and security" as Apple continues to push back on competition regulations and proposals around the world by touting the company's commitment to protecting data.
Speaking at a conference of privacy professionals in Washington, D.C., Cook warned of "profound" unintended consequences and said that lawmakers and regulators could "potentially give bad actors a way around the comprehensive security protections we put in place."
While he didn't name particular proposals, Apple is subject to South Korea's new app store law. Europe is also on the verge of mandating that Apple allow third-party app stores onto iOS, and a committee in the U.S. Senate has advanced legislation with a smaller scale but similar goals.
Apple has not been shy about asserting that these competition proposals would expose users to scam apps and allow big digital ads players like Google and Facebook to track people across apps more easily. Cook himself has reportedly lobbied against antitrust proposals in the House by calling Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Yet his speech comes as both industry allies and the advocates of new competition requirements for tech have escalated their work to try to determine if antitrust bills can pass this year.
Backers of the U.S. tech competition bills say that the tech giants' lobbying ignores that the measures protect steps that companies take to protect privacy and security, so long as they aren't pretexts for anticompetitive actions. The would-be reformers say putting new curbs on Big Tech would also allow consumers choices that could weaken the power of online ads firms.
During the speech, Cook urged the audience to "join our efforts to make sure that regulations are crafted, interpreted and implemented in a manner that protects people's fundamental rights" and promised that Apple would push its side of the fight in the future.
"We will continue to make our voices heard on this issue," he said.