Tim Cook declares iCloud spy chip account '100 percent a lie' in privacy interview

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is continuing to call out Bloomberg's report about Chinese spy chips embedded into iCloud servers as false, proclaiming in an interview about the company's stance on privacy and taxation that the report "is 100 percent a lie."




Speaking from an Apple Store in Brussels, Belgium, Cook expressed concern about the possibility of government surveillance interfering with products and services used by consumers, advising he sleeps "with an eye open," but at the same time firmly denounced claims from the Bloomberg report.

"It is 100 percent a lie. There is no truth to it," Cook told CNN's Christine Amanpour. "There's no malicious chip."

Cook was referring to the spy chip story which claimed the components were secretly slipped into hardware produced in China, with the intention of spying on major western companies and government agencies via a hardware hack. Many of the companies named in the report have spoken out against it, including Apple, while experts have weighed in suggesting that the hack as-told would be impossible to perform.

Cook's outburst echoes similar comments made by the CEO on October 19, claiming "There is no truth in their (Bloomberg) story about Apple," calling for the publication to retract it. Cook also advised the company "really forensically whipped through" email, datacenter records, financial records, and other data to find evidence that suggests the report is true, but failed to find anything.

The interview coincides with a speech made by Cook at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners earlier on Wednesday, where he praised the European Union's moves in data protection and called for the United States to follow its lead. Cook also raised the idea of the "data-industrial complex" as a threat, claiming "Platforms and algorithms that promise to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies."

In the interview, Cook explained that major corporations have effectively created surveillance operations that prioritizes profit over a consumer's control of their own data. "You have more information in your devices than in your own home," he warned. "All of this information that is out there is too much. It is just too much. It should not exist."

Apple's stance that privacy is a basic human right was raised again, to illustrate the company's decision to avoid data collection-based models used by Facebook and Google to advertise to its users.

In another part of the interview concerning taxes, tariffs, and other fees, Cook advises he "disdains" politics and tries to avoid participating, but does enjoy advocating for "good policy." In the case of the ongoing trade war between the Trump Administration and China, Cook claimed that while tax cuts are good for the economy, he dislikes the use of tariffs on either side.

Cook also defended Apple's tax affairs with Ireland, one that the European Union believed was too advantageous to the company, in that Ireland made arrangements for Apple to pay extremely low amounts of tax to the country, making it a tax haven. Apple has since paid the equivalent of $15 billion in back taxes to the country, as well as interest, which is held in escrow while both Apple and Ireland appeal the ruling.

The CEO claimed Apple follows tax laws as written, in that tax revenue on intellectual property owned by entities based in the United States should be paid to the United States. "Until that law changes, we will follow the law," advised Cook.

While Cook does acknowledge "valid points of view" relating to changes in tax law, he disputes the European Union's decision on the Irish financial arrangements.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Safe to say the two journalist who keep writing these unprovable stories have question marks above their heads.
    edited October 2018 magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    This may be the first time "outburst" was associated with Tim Cook.
    magman1979radarthekatchristophbmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraNotsofast
  • Reply 3 of 14
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,454member
    The EU needs to get over the tax issue. In the US each state has it own tax laws for individuals and companies and many times State will give certain companies a tax breaks to attract a company to set up business in their state. You do not see the other states and the federal government fining a company because the state cut them a deal to do business in their state. The EU is acting like a bunch of kids who are crying because another kids got more Halloween candy in their bag.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    Boy, if Mike Bloomberg does decide to run in 2020, he's going to have a lot of 'splaining to do about the company he owns and runs.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,876member
    Damage to Apple goodwill maybe minor. Because Apple has a lot of goodwill earned by the late Steve Jobs. People believe in Apple more than any other things. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,115member
    At this point, there’s enough evidence against the story that the onus is really onBloomberg to prove it’s veracity. 

    As for the Irish tax issue, it’s not unlike the flap over Mitt Romney’s taxes a few years ago. He only paid 15% because that was the capital gains rate. It may not be fair, but it’s perfectly legal. Similarly, if Apple was paying the taxes Ireland legally required of them, then you can’t fault a company for taking advantage of a financially advantageous arrangement. If Ireland wasn’t following EU laws then that was their fault, not Apple’s. 
    mac_dogmagman1979radarthekat
  • Reply 7 of 14
    This may be the first time "outburst" was associated with Tim Cook.
    It definitely wasn’t an outburst. He answered calmly yet forcefully. Cook is as cool as they come.
    randominternetpersonRayz2016king editor the grateradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    gilly33gilly33 Posts: 226member
    I don’t care what no one says I really like this guy. He comes across as being very honest where Apple is concerned. Unlike the report he refers to and the money grabbing politicians in the EU and elsewhere. 
    chasmrandominternetpersonradarthekatmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    Cook needs to then take a stand against depersoning of people with political views he does not agree with. He’s only trying to help Apple’s market position and not really standing up for consumer rights and freedom! Pulling applications from the App Store because he doesn’t agree with some positions represented including criticism of Apple’s China’s business practices makes his remarks ring a bit hollow!
  • Reply 10 of 14
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,173member
    Bloomberg needs to retract and apologise.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    chasm said:
    Bloomberg needs to retract and apologise.
    Or be sued for defamation. There's really no excuse for this apparently malicious false reporting.
    edited October 2018 randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 14
    glfrost said:
    Cook needs to then take a stand against depersoning of people with political views he does not agree with. He’s only trying to help Apple’s market position and not really standing up for consumer rights and freedom! Pulling applications from the App Store because he doesn’t agree with some positions represented including criticism of Apple’s China’s business practices makes his remarks ring a bit hollow!
    What does depersoning mean?  Can you provide an example?
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    Bloomberg wants this to go away. 
    Cook won’t let it go. 
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 14
    glfrost said:
    Cook needs to then take a stand against depersoning of people with political views he does not agree with. He’s only trying to help Apple’s market position and not really standing up for consumer rights and freedom! Pulling applications from the App Store because he doesn’t agree with some positions represented including criticism of Apple’s China’s business practices makes his remarks ring a bit hollow!
    What does depersoning mean?  Can you provide an example?
    Basically making a person disappear - not be a person anymore. They erase them or their memories and make them fall in line or die.
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