Apple's Tim Cook takes hardline stance against consumer data sharing, government snooping and terror

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
In an interview published on Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook reaffirmed his commitment to customer data privacy, saying most consumers likely do not know how dire the situation is, but will be "very offended" when they find out.



Following comments regarding Apple Watch specifications and an upcoming Apple Store revamp, Cook spoke with the Telegraph in an extensive interview covering data privacy, government snooping, terrorism and more.

The Apple chief is cognizant of the amount of customer information being "trafficked around" by corporations, governments and other organizations, saying data sharing is a practice that goes against Apple's core philosophies. He said consumers, however, "don't fully understand what is going on" at present, but "one day they will, and will be very offended."

"None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information," Cook said. "This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn't give it up. We shouldn't give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don't understand the details."
"We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn't give it up. We shouldn't give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don't understand the details." - Apple CEO Tim Cook
The publication also asked about implications of terrorism, especially government surveillance operations created with the intent of aiding law enforcement agencies. Cook took a hard-nosed stance on the topic, saying the issue is a non-starter in his book because terrorists use proprietary encryption tools not under the control of U.S. or UK governments.

"Terrorists will encrypt. They know what to do," Cook said. "If we don't encrypt, the people we affect [by cracking down on privacy] are the good people. They are the 99.999 percent of people who are good." He added, "You don't want to eliminate everyone's privacy. If you do, you not only don't solve the terrorist issue but you also take away something that is a human right. The consequences of doing that are very significant."

In September, Apple laid out new guidelines for law enforcement data requests and in doing so noted that it is not technically capable of decrypting data stored on devices running iOS 8.

The company issues regular transparency reports regarding governmental data requests, and from January to June 2014 (PDF link) saw 0 to 249 U.S. national security orders to release personal account information. Law enforcement requests were much higher, however, at 789 affecting 1,739 accounts. Apple acquiesced and released "some information" in 77 percent of cases.

"We are not a treasure trove of data. It is a cop-out to say: choose between privacy or security. There is no reason why customers should have to select one. There is no reason not to have both," he said.

While Cook thinks terrorism shouldn't be a catalyst for change in the data privacy landscape, he has no qualms about speaking out against such violent intimidation tactics.

"Terrorism is horrible and must be stopped. All of us must do everything we can do to stop this craziness," he said. "These people shouldn't exist. They should be eliminated."

The executive reiterated Apple's mantra of making products, not marketing consumers as products. Every device and service that comes out of Cupertino is designed to store only a minimal amount of customer information, Cook said.



Finally, Cook talked about privacy as it applies to Apple Pay, the fledgling payments service Apple rolled out in October. Unlike other payments processors, Apple designed Apple Pay to reveal little to no information to outside parties, including itself.

"If you use your phone to buy something on Apple Pay, we don't want to know what you bought, how much you paid for it and where you bought it. That is between you, your bank and the merchant," Cook said. "Could we make money from knowing about this? Of course. Do you want us to do that that? No. Would it be in our value system to do that? No. We've designed [Apple Pay] to be private and for it to be secure."

The full story as reported by The Telegraph includes additional detail and a few more choice quotes.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 122
    Awesome - he has the right answers.
  • Reply 2 of 122
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,976member

    I believe that Tim Cook is an uncommonly good man. I am very proud to own stock in the company he leads.

  • Reply 3 of 122
    Quote:


     "Terrorism is horrible and must be stopped. All of us must do everything we can do to stop this craziness," he said. "These people shouldn't exist. They should be eliminated."


    It's nice to see someone who gets this, yet also recognizes that we've got to maintain our privacy at the same time.

  • Reply 4 of 122
    Your move, G
  • Reply 5 of 122
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Your move, G

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/mariansalzman/2015/02/27/google-privacy-its-so-last-decade/

  • Reply 6 of 122
    Steve Jobs definitely chose exceptionally well with his successor! Makes me proud to own and use their products, and to "be a believer" so to speak... Humanity needs more people in power like Tim Cook!!!
  • Reply 7 of 122
    Uber is scary enough, but GOOGLE doing this??? I remember the DoJ going after Microsoft for Internet Explorer, a freaking web browser, in the 90's... When will they get their head's out of their asses and go after Google for being allowed to become the monopoly they are today?!
  • Reply 8 of 122
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    [quote]"Terrorism is horrible and must be stopped. All of us must do everything we can do to stop this craziness," he said. "These people shouldn't exist. They should be eliminated."[/quote]

    Hey Tim can you relay this message to your buddy Obama? Nobody in their right mind could say he's doing everything he can do to eliminate them. kthxbye
  • Reply 9 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    "None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information," Cook said. "This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn't give it up. We shouldn't give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don't understand the details."

    This. ^^^

     

    Many people don't get it. If we do not have the right to privacy, we cannot logically have the key collateral set of rights that we are entitled to, such as the first amendment, the fifth amendment, and even second amendment (which I do not happen to agree with in its current form) rights.

     

    Cook is turning out to be someone really quite incredible. His own man. He's truly coming out, in so many ways.

     

    Apple is in very good hands.

  • Reply 10 of 122
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,196member

    Wow, I have so much fucking respect for Cook. I don't disagree with a single thing he said, and I'm glad he takes such a publically hard line on it. It will become, more and more, what differentiates Apple from everything else. Tim knows that Google's entire business model relies on selling your info, and he will more and more put emphasis on that distinction. 

  • Reply 11 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

     

     Tim knows that Google's entire business model relies on selling your info, and he will more and more put emphasis on that distinction. 


    I think that's what Tim considers thermonuclear war to be.

     

    People have tried to claim Jobs was the wartime CEO, Cook is the peacetime CEO. I think it truly is the reverse.

  • Reply 12 of 122
    Great to see Cook condemning the Muslim terrorists and standing up for privacy.

    If only Obama would do the same.
  • Reply 13 of 122
    "Hey Tim can you relay this message to your buddy Obama? Nobody in their right mind could say he's doing everything he can do to eliminate them. kthxbye"

    Hey Tim, while you're at it, can you advise people that our country is not run by only one person and that no one person can either cause or solve all our problems? 'Cause that would be great. Thanks.
  • Reply 14 of 122
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,196member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    Hey Tim can you relay this message to your buddy Obama? Nobody in their right mind could say he's doing everything he can do to eliminate them. kthxbye

     

    So whats your solution, randomly bomb massively dense areas where the terrorists are mingled with the population? Or boots on the ground? Both options are fucked up, have thousands of consequences, will cost more lives, and actually have a good chance of increasing terrorism in the long term, if history is anything to go by.

     

    Your statement is easy to make, but also childish and intellectually lazy, because I very much doubt you have a comprehensive plan in mind that will yield better results, without massive drawbacks. Are you insinuating Obama doesn't mind terrorism? I mean, really? Why WOULDN'T he be motivated to eliminate them? He wants every terrorist dead as much as you do. Thinking people understand that no matter what certain people proclaim, using cute and catchy taglines, there is no simple or obvious solution. Obviously Obama agrees with Cook with the statement he made, but somehow I doubt Cook would take the actions you would advocate if he was in Obama's place. 

     

    Oh, and well done bringing politics into this. This interview was about privacy, but you couldn't help bringing up Obama using a lame comment. 

  • Reply 15 of 122
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,196member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    I think that's what Tim considers thermonuclear war to be.

     

    People have tried to claim Jobs was the wartime CEO, Cook is the peacetime CEO. I think it truly is the reverse.


     

    There's different ways to wage war. Cook is intelligent and strong enough to wage it not in a childish, but in a patient, long-term, and effective way. In history, many empires waged war by simply starving their adversaries. Google is bleeding on all fronts. As is almost every single Android OEM. Cook is winning by sucking out almost all the profits in the industry, as well as focusing on what sets Apple apart in terms of privacy and security when given the chance. 

     

    PS: Love how Google released a 10min PR video today of their fantasy future campus, while admitting that much of the technology to make it a reality doesn't even exist yet. Meanwhile, Apple's new campus will be completed next year. They never bothered creating a sexy video about it years before breaking ground.  Google desperately creates videos like this to stay relevant in terms of mindshare, showing shit off that might never become reality. Remember that Google Glass first video? Google rode that hype train for a long time, which ended up never going anywhere even remotely interesting. 

  • Reply 16 of 122
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Your move, G



    He already one-upped Apple ages ago... :)

    http://www.dailytech.com/Googles+Eric+Schmidt+Says+Android+is+More+Secure+Than+iPhone/article33515.htm

  • Reply 18 of 122
    Just as Cook wants terrorists eliminated, the same should be applied to those who have or carry out abortions.

    Abortion is the most horrific evil that mankind has inflicted on God's Creation. Terrorism is but a fly on an elephant in comparison.
  • Reply 19 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    Great to see Cook condemning the Muslim terrorists and standing up for privacy.



    If only Obama would do the same.

    Cook mentioned terrorists and terrorism, generally speaking, as in all terrorism and all terrorists. He never mentioned only Muslim terrorists. Ever heard of the KKK. They're not exactly from the Middle East and they don't read the Koran.

  • Reply 20 of 122
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    Just as Cook wants terrorists eliminated, the same should be applied to those who have or carry out abortions.



    Abortion is the most horrific evil mankind has inflicted on God's Creation. Terrorism is but a fly on an elephant in comparison.

    Okay, who let Mitt Romney into the forum?

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