Tim Cook meets with NPR to discuss data privacy, government back doors, taxes and more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook continued his media tour on Thursday by participating in a short interview featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," where he discussed the importance of consumer data protection and implications of America's tax code.




Cook sat down with NPR's Robert Siegel in a one-on-one interview to discuss hot-button issues like user privacy and why Apple keeps piling up overseas cash. While the talk mainly covers well-trod ground, the Apple chief did provide a few nuggets of insight.

When asked about Apple's stance on data privacy and the potential for government backdoors, Cook said, "I don't think you will hear the NSA asking for a back door. [...] There have been different conversations with the FBI, I think, over time -- I read in the newspaper myself. But my own view is everyone's coming around to some core tenets, and those core tenets are encryption is a must in today's world. And I think everybody is coming around also to recognizing that any backdoor means a backdoor for bad guys as well as good guys, so a backdoor is a non-starter."

Apple has been an outspoken opponent of government snooping operations, and to that end introduced strong encryption in iOS 8 to make data acquisition -- both legal and illicit -- extremely difficult. Certain law enforcement agencies came down hard, saying Apple's methods hinder time-sensitive operations and could in some cases endanger the public.

Siegel later asked whether Cook is referring to Google when he makes hard-nosed statements against companies that commoditize user data. As usual, Cook said customers are not products for Apple, explaining how the company views data gathered by online stores like iTunes and the App Store.

"If you buy something from the App Store -- and we do know what you bought from the App Store, obviously -- we think customers are fine with that. Many customers want us to recommend an app," Cook said. "But what they don't to do is they don't want your email to be read, and then to pick up on keywords in your email and then to use that information to market you things on a different application that you're using."



As for why Apple is reluctant to repatriate its offshore cash hoard, Cook expectedly cited steep U.S. tax regulations as a singular motivation. He added that such policies act as a barrier to free cash flow for numerous multinational companies based in America, ultimately stunting economic growth.

"I think one key thing to understand here is that the reason we have a lot of money overseas is that two-thirds of our sales are overseas, and therefore we earn a lot of money overseas," Cook said. "The tax law that we have today is very archaic -- it doesn't allow you to bring back money unless you tax both internationally, then pay the full tax domestically as well."

Finally, Cook laughed off the inevitable Apple Car line of questioning, asking, "Do you have another question?"
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37

    NPR? You don't get much coverage on NPR.

  • Reply 2 of 37
    NPR? You don't get much coverage on NPR.

    Apple unfortunately has a bit of a blind spot with regards to media. It was most noticeable when they showed the partners for News, almost all of which were leftist.
  • Reply 3 of 37



    I heard it. But I'm an NPR nerd.

  • Reply 4 of 37
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,006member
    ...so why does safari continue to open a 'new window' in non-private mode off a link when the prefs are set to 'safari opens with a new private window'...?

    Geotagging, face id, pix in address book, icloud, yada yada - has there been potential incremental erosion of user privacy built in to every OS update...?
  • Reply 5 of 37
    NPR? You don't get much coverage on NPR.
    That program is one of the most popular radio programs in the US. So, it's a fair bit of coverage.
  • Reply 6 of 37
    NPR? You don't get much coverage on NPR.

    'Coverage' of what? Domestic news? Global news? Business news? Arts and Entertainmemt news? Politics news?

    I'll grant that NPR has a bit of a liberal bias (and their excessive focus on issues of race can rankle), but from your silly post, I am guessing that intelligently produced and delivered high-quality information creates congnitive dissonance in your life.

    I assume you watch or listen to a lot of Fox News?
  • Reply 7 of 37
    NPR? You don't get much coverage on NPR.

    Apple unfortunately has a bit of a blind spot with regards to media. It was most noticeable when they showed the partners for News, almost all of which were leftist.

    Maybe because 'rightists' don't like to support NPR very much? Why do you think that is?
  • Reply 8 of 37



    I"m like you, I watch Comedy Central.

  • Reply 9 of 37
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post





    Maybe because 'rightists' don't like to support NPR very much? Why do you think that is?



    I like NPR quite a lot. Can't stand commercial radio.

  • Reply 10 of 37
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,064member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Softshellcrab View Post

     

    I"m like you, I watch Comedy Central.


     

    For coverage, right?  :rolleyes:

  • Reply 11 of 37
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Steve wouldn't!!!!!1
  • Reply 12 of 37
    Maybe because 'rightists' don't like to support NPR very much? Why do you think that is?

    Because the government has no business funding radio?
  • Reply 13 of 37
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,709member
    Apple unfortunately has a bit of a blind spot with regards to media. It was most noticeable when they showed the partners for News, almost all of which were leftist.
    Well, that is your rightist view. The 'center' in US politics is probably further right than ever before.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    Maybe because 'rightists' don't like to support NPR very much? Why do you think that is?

    Because the government has no business funding radio?

    Really? Does radio pay me for the bandwidth my government gives them for free?

    I always find it a tad ironic that Rush Limbaugh -- that intellectual bastion of the rightists -- mooches off my bandwidth. A public good that belongs to you and me.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    Really? Does radio pay me for the bandwidth my government gives them for free?

    I always find it a tad ironic that Rush Limbaugh -- that intellectual bastion of the rightists -- mooches off my bandwidth. A public good that belongs to you and me.

    Who gave the government (or anyone, honestly) permission to own airwaves? Does someone own oxygen? The wind? Should I freak out if someone has solar panels because they're stealing my photons?
  • Reply 16 of 37
    Really? Does radio pay me for the bandwidth my government gives them for free?

    I always find it a tad ironic that Rush Limbaugh -- that intellectual bastion of the rightists -- mooches off my bandwidth. A public good that belongs to you and me.

    Who gave the government (or anyone, honestly) permission to own airwaves? Does someone own oxygen? The wind? Should I freak out if someone has solar panels because they're stealing my photons?

    When I last checked, oxygen, wind, and photons did not appear to be in short supply. Unlike bandwidth.

    Very dumb argument. I expected better. Or no response. Perhaps it's the lack of oxygen to the brain.
  • Reply 17 of 37
    anomeanome Posts: 1,482member
    I suspect he went on All Things Considered, not so much because of any political bias, but because it's a program that will do one on one interviews of this type, and has a pretty good reputation. I'm sure he's open to going on any radio program with a similar format. I don't know about the US, but here the only radio programs with that kind of format, and that kind of reach are on the government network, since the commercials are chasing eachother in the race for the lowest common denominator.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    moreckmoreck Posts: 187member
    NPR? You don't get much coverage on NPR.

    Smart people listen to NPR.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member
    The Apple Car question caught him off guard clearly. Nervous laughter response and other giveaways. It's completely obvious what Apple's doing. Should be in interesting Apple when they release a car: wow, exciting times.

    Also give us an OLED Apple television with great sound built in.
  • Reply 20 of 37
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member
    cali wrote: »
    Steve wouldn't!!!!!1

    Steve didn't do everything right, by the way. Cook is right to do interviews that bring up questions related security in a public forum. These issues and political and need public awareness to be won long term. Not to mention that conversations on these matters which Apple's CEO on NPR advertise Apple's stance on this and bring about awareness of a great side of Apple to the general public.
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