Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai made their first appearances at China’s World Internet Conference, bringing star power to a gathering the Chinese government uses to promote its strategy of tight controls online.
Apple’s chief executive officer gave a surprise keynote at the opening ceremony on Sunday, calling for future internet and AI technologies to be infused with privacy, security and humanity. The same day, one of China’s most-senior officials called for more aggressive government involvement online to combat terrorism and criminals. Wang Huning, one of seven men on China’s top decision-making body, even called for a global response team to go well beyond its borders.
Apple and Cook are walking a fine line between their corporate culture of user privacy and the Chinese government’s desire for control over those same users.