Apple CEO Tim Cook talks privacy, China and Alex Jones with HBO's VICE News Tonight

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2018
In a one-on-one interview with HBO's VICE News Tonight, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed a series of hard-hitting questions from correspondent Elle Reeves concerning data privacy, Apple's dealings in China, the Alex Jones controversy and more.

Tim Cook Vice News


As teased in previous tweets posted to Vice's official account, Cook touched on data privacy rights against the backdrop of government regulation. While he is not pro-regulation, the Apple chief said it is important to get lawmakers up to speed on tech and privacy. That includes "some level" of government regulation.

"Technology itself doesn't want to be good, it doesn't want to be bad, it doesn't want anything," Cook said. "It's up to the creator, I'm exceedingly optimistic that this subject is now in the vocabulary and getting discussed. And now we've all got to figure out a way to take it to the next level and change some things."

On that topic, Reeve presented the idea that Siri could be hindered because Apple refuses to collect customer data. Cook refuted the notion.

"The narrative that some companies will try to get you to believe is, 'I've got to take all of your data to make my service better.' Well, don't believe that," Cook said. "Whoever's telling you that -- it's a bunch of bunk."

Competitors in the space, including Amazon and Google, glean data from user devices to inform and develop new features for their respective voice assistants. Apple's Siri, which is subject to the same stringent privacy protections as other Apple products, is widely viewed as behind Alexa and Google Assistant in terms of functionality.

"We challenge ourselves to collect as little as possible," he said. "And when we collect, we challenge ourselves to make it not identifiable. And we don't do things like -- we don't read your email, we don't read your messages. You are not our product. We're not forming the detailed profile and then allowing other companies to buy the opportunity to target you. That's not the business that we're in."

Cook went on to defend Apple's decision to adhere to Chinese government policy, a stance that has forced the company to migrate iCloud account data to China-owned servers. The move, privacy advocates say, opens customers up to potential snooping under the strict regime.

"It's not easy for anybody to get it," he said. "I mean it's it's encrypted like it is everywhere. And so no, I wouldn't I wouldn't get caught up in the, Where's the location of it?' I mean, we have servers located in many different countries in the world. They are not easier to get data from being in one country versus the next."





Apple recently removed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its podcasting platform, as well as the iOS App Store, for violating company policy. Cook commented on the resolution to strike the controversial content.

"What users want from us and what we've always provided them is a curated platform," he said. "We think the what the user wants is someone that does review these apps, someone that does review the podcasts, someone that on like Apple news, where a human is selecting the top stories. And that's what we do. We don't take a political stand. We're not leaning one way or the other. You can tell that from the stuff on the App Store and in podcasts etc. You'll see everything from very conservative to very liberal. And that's the way I think it should be."

Shortly after Apple first pulled Jones' content from Podcasts and iTunes, other tech companies followed suit. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in an interview said the social network followed Apple's lead on the matter. The most punishing blow came when Twitter banned Jones last month.

Cook in today's interview said he did not discuss the decision with other companies, nor does he know of any conversations between Apple employees and their counterparts at Facebook or Twitter.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    Tim-

    I’ve been an Apple customer for over 30 years.  One reason has been Apple’s honesty in all things.

    I don’t believe you regarding Alex Jones or not “leaning”.

    If you were being honest something would have changed- but Jones was there for years, unchanged, and suddenly you remove him?

    Only 30 years ago people like you and me were censored for being gay.  You have failed to champion free speech for all.

    I dont like Alex Jones, but I hate fascism even more.

    Today you have become the fascists, proving Reagan right when he said:

    ”If Fascism ever comes to America it will be under the guise of liberalism.”

    My time with Apple May be coming to an end. Rather than being an all Apple household I now have a half dozen Linux machines and a Windows PC. (And still apple devices, but now I’m looking at others too.)

    Jessi
    edited October 2018 newBelievermacseekerSpamSandwichElCapitanjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 15
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,032moderator
    Tim-

    I’ve been an Apple customer for over 30 years.  One reason has been Apple’s honesty in all things.

    I don’t believe you regarding Alex Jones or not “leaning”.

    If you were being honest something would have changed- but Jones was there for years, unchanged, and suddenly you remove him?

    Only 30 years ago people like you and me were censored for being gay.  You have failed to champion free speech for all.

    I dont like Alex Jones, but I hate fascism even more.

    Today you have become the fascists, proving Reagan right when he said:

    ”If Fascism ever comes to America it will be under the guise of liberalism.”

    My time with Apple May be coming to an end. Rather than being an all Apple household I now have a half dozen Linux machines and a Windows PC. (And still apple devices, but now I’m looking at others too.)

    Jessi

    Too bad you blew apart your argument by bringing free speech into the mix.  Excerpted from Lifehacker.com:

    The first amendment to the Constitution says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    This is very important: freedom of speech, along with the other freedoms in the first amendment, are designed to protect the liberties of the populace against an oppressive government that would seek to squash those rights in its own self-interest.

    Private entities and private spaces, however, are largely not required to protect your speech, and the first amendment does not protect what you say—only your right to speak.  

    Earlier in our nation's history, most towns and cities had a "public square" at the heart of a community where people could meet, discuss, and hear the news and issues of the day. It was usually the place where officials made proclamations, candidates spoke and stumped for votes (directly analogous to today's "town hall" meetings), and in general where the people could gather and speak freely. Those public squares have all but disappeared, and while there are still town halls and other public spaces for speech, the true heart of most communities today are private places of commerce or entertainment (malls, stores, stadiums.)

    Today, most of us turn to the internet because the tools are free and available: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, blogs with comment sections, forums, they all offer one-click methods for us to speak our minds. However, when you leave a comment on a company's Facebook page, post to a Reddit thread, or tweet your grievances, you're speaking in privately owned spaces. This means you should have no expectation that your speech is somehow protected beyond that service's terms of use.  

    While "censorship" can apply to any type of speech suppression, censorship in the context of "free speech" is generally reserved for speech that's suppressed by government or state actors. A company deleting your post on their Facebook page about how their product was a waste of your money, even if you think the post was relevant or witty, is not state suppression of your speech. It may be censorship, but your freedom of speech has not been violated.

    Remember this when you speak on the internet. While Reddit or Twitter may feel like the new "public square," they aren't. This means your speech is not constitutionally protected unless specified in the terms of use for that service.

    ***

    Back to Apple...  for a long time you could watch YouTube videos of terrorists beheading hostages, but you can’t anymore.  Things change, context changes, dangers emerge that didn’t exist or were t fully recognized prior.  The current political climate may amplify or alter the effects of the message put forth by an Alex Jones or the like, such that businesses may make a determination not to continue to be party to their messages.  Facebook has a process in place to allow users to report offensive posts, which FB has a right to turn take down, and Apple has the same rights in its App Store and elsewhere.  You should reconsider your stance on Apple, which I would cast as being a company that is not dogmatic in its stance, gives consideration to its curation of content and quietly removes offending content without coming out with its own opposing or self-serving position on the matter.  Apple just applies its own guidelines, which might not match with any one of its customer own guidelines, and goes about its business.  In that, nothing has changed. 

    StrangeDaysshrave10retrogustoRayz2016claire1minicoffeejony0
  • Reply 3 of 15
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,327member
    Tim-

    I’ve been an Apple customer for over 30 years.  One reason has been Apple’s honesty in all things.

    I don’t believe you regarding Alex Jones or not “leaning”.

    If you were being honest something would have changed- but Jones was there for years, unchanged, and suddenly you remove him?

    Only 30 years ago people like you and me were censored for being gay.  You have failed to champion free speech for all.

    I dont like Alex Jones, but I hate fascism even more.

    Today you have become the fascists, proving Reagan right when he said:

    ”If Fascism ever comes to America it will be under the guise of liberalism.”

    My time with Apple May be coming to an end. Rather than being an all Apple household I now have a half dozen Linux machines and a Windows PC. (And still apple devices, but now I’m looking at others too.)

    Jessi
    Cool story bro. But guess what — Apple owns a private platform, so it’s not fascism. In fact their terms of use are very similar to Alex Jones’ own terms of use on his platform (his web forum) where he likewise says he can kick off offensive users. Oops! Yeah that’s the thing with private property, nobody is entitled to it. 

    The problem with hosting Jones was his speech harmed people — his lies convinced his listeners to shoot up pizza parlors and accuse grieving parents of lying about their children being murdered. He has no right to yell “Fire!” into the proverbial theater using Apple’s platform. Their house, their rules. 

    Loved your preamble about being a fan for
    thirty years — great way to signal what was coming next! Have fun with your Linux project. 
    edited October 2018 shrave10Rayz2016minicoffeejony0
  • Reply 4 of 15
    anomeanome Posts: 1,266member
    If you were being honest something would have changed- but Jones was there for years, unchanged, and suddenly you remove him?

    I'm not the best person to judge, but was Jones really unchanged? It seems he's gotten worse in recent years, but maybe it's just because he's gotten more attention.

    Also, do we know how many times Apple warned InfoWars and/or Jones about their content? Telling them to tone it down or be removed? At some point, you have to give up hope that people are going to play nice, and just cut them loose.

    I mean it could just be that public opinion changed such that Alex Jones and his ilk are less representative of community standards.

    And it's a bit of a stretch to go to fascism. Even free speech is a reach. Jones still has a platform - his radio program. And ending an association with someone you don't agree with isn't fascism.

  • Reply 5 of 15
    What I find very interesting with regards to the whole Alex Jones thing is that it seems many of the same people who say it's Apple's right to kick out whomever they want from their "private space" often are very vocal about the absolute need to ensure that Comcast/Verizon/AT&T/etc "private spaces" don't have that same right (a la Net Neutrality).




    jbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 15
    What I find very interesting with regards to the whole Alex Jones thing is that it seems many of the same people who say it's Apple's right to kick out whomever they want from their "private space" often are very vocal about the absolute need to ensure that Comcast/Verizon/AT&T/etc "private spaces" don't have that same right (a la Net Neutrality).




    In the video, Cook talks about how he thinks customers want a “curated” experience, and I think to some degree he’s right. Apple has always made that a selling point of their App Store. What nobody wants is a “curated” internet connection, unless maybe you’re talking about parental controls, but even then, the parents want control. See the difference?

    So yes, it probably is many of the same people saying these things, but it’s not really so surprising if you think about it. It’s two very different situations. 
    jbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,015member
    Tim-

    I’ve been an Apple customer for over 30 years.  One reason has been Apple’s honesty in all things.

    I don’t believe you regarding Alex Jones or not “leaning”.

    If you were being honest something would have changed- but Jones was there for years, unchanged, and suddenly you remove him?

    Only 30 years ago people like you and me were censored for being gay.  You have failed to champion free speech for all.

    I dont like Alex Jones, but I hate fascism even more.

    Today you have become the fascists, proving Reagan right when he said:

    ”If Fascism ever comes to America it will be under the guise of liberalism.”

    My time with Apple May be coming to an end. Rather than being an all Apple household I now have a half dozen Linux machines and a Windows PC. (And still apple devices, but now I’m looking at others too.)

    Jessi
    Cool story bro. But guess what — Apple owns a private platform, so it’s not fascism. In fact their terms of use are very similar to Alex Jones’ own terms of use on his platform (his web forum) where he likewise says he can kick off offensive users. Oops! Yeah that’s the thing with private property, nobody is entitled to it. 

    The problem with hosting Jones was his speech harmed people — his lies convinced his listeners to shoot up pizza parlors and accuse grieving parents of lying about their children being murdered. He has no right to yell “Fire!” into the proverbial theater using Apple’s platform. Their house, their rules. 

    Loved your preamble about being a fan for
    thirty years — great way to signal what was coming next! Have fun with your Linux project. 
    Hold on a second. Alex Jones CAUSED people to shoot up a pizza parlor, etc? No, he told a bunch of stories, but people decided on their own to do stupid things.

    Personally, I think Jones is a bit of a nut, but find it offensive Apple or any other platform booted him when truly violent and deranged people such as those who align with Antifa remain.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 15
    claire1claire1 Posts: 497unconfirmed, member
    Vice, a company Apple should have bought long ago for TV.

    Jones lied about Apple a few years back. I would have kicked his a** out for that alone.
  • Reply 9 of 15
    xbitxbit Posts: 234member
    SpamSandwich said:

    Hold on a second. Alex Jones CAUSED people to shoot up a pizza parlor, etc? No, he told a bunch of stories, but people decided on their own to do stupid things.
    If someone repeatedly called you a pedophile in front of a large audience and then a bunch of people kicked your head in because they believed that you were a pedophile, would you solely blame your attackers for what happened? 

    Words have power. All hate preachers understand this.
    StrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 10 of 15
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member
    Tim-

    I’ve been an Apple customer for over 30 years.  One reason has been Apple’s honesty in all things.

    I don’t believe you regarding Alex Jones or not “leaning”.

    If you were being honest something would have changed- but Jones was there for years, unchanged, and suddenly you remove him?

    Only 30 years ago people like you and me were censored for being gay.  You have failed to champion free speech for all.

    I dont like Alex Jones, but I hate fascism even more.

    Today you have become the fascists, proving Reagan right when he said:

    ”If Fascism ever comes to America it will be under the guise of liberalism.”

    My time with Apple May be coming to an end. Rather than being an all Apple household I now have a half dozen Linux machines and a Windows PC. (And still apple devices, but now I’m looking at others too.)

    Jessi
    The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato.

    Less well known is the paradox of tolerance:

    Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them
    .”

    The paradox of tolerance - Popper

    Thou protests too much...as a moderate Reagan Republican this Republican Party espouses none of his virtues and all of his faults.

    No, I don’t have to tolerate asshats like Alex Jones that seeks to destroy civil society for his own gain.

    if you don’t want to buy Apple feels free to get lost.  No one cares.
    StrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 11 of 15
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member
    What I find very interesting with regards to the whole Alex Jones thing is that it seems many of the same people who say it's Apple's right to kick out whomever they want from their "private space" often are very vocal about the absolute need to ensure that Comcast/Verizon/AT&T/etc "private spaces" don't have that same right (a la Net Neutrality).
    These aren’t private spaces but utilities and often local monopolies. Net neutrality wouldn’t be as hot an issue if we had broadband competition in all markets. Unlike Apple, where you can easily jump to Android, in many places Comcast is it.
    edited October 2018
  • Reply 12 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,015member
    nht said:
    What I find very interesting with regards to the whole Alex Jones thing is that it seems many of the same people who say it's Apple's right to kick out whomever they want from their "private space" often are very vocal about the absolute need to ensure that Comcast/Verizon/AT&T/etc "private spaces" don't have that same right (a la Net Neutrality).
    These aren’t private spaces but utilities and often local monopolies. Net neutrality wouldn’t be as hot an issue if we had broadband competition in all markets. Unlike Apple, where you can easily jump to Android, in many places Comcast is it.
    If private property is involved, it’s not a utility.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,078member
    I find it laughable of Apple booting Alex Jones, and yet so many on the left, just flat out ignored, even though they are so much worse!!! THAT is what I have a problem with.

    While throwing off the Podcast is one thing, what is the problem with the app? It's just a app. That should have been left alone. It was on all this time. Followed the guide lines, The content is not in the app, it's being streamed off site to the device. It's not going through Apple. So this I just fine complete B.S.

    While these are PRIVATE company's, these few company';s hold a lot of POWER!!! It's all on the LEFT which makes it worse. If if was a Fence Making Company, who cares. They can have whatever views they want as it doesn't effect anything. On the other had, if your Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, all Leftest Company's in control of most everything Digital being spread around. It's almost like the old days where there was no Fox News, or even the Internet. Being forced fed Mainstream Leftest views. Now we have that in the Digital world. Throw in Facebook into the Mix as so many use that, another Leftest service. again, all the far worse Leftest Hating, and wanting to kill people leftest sites are still up!!! No problem with those!!! Same old, being inconsistent. Alex Jones is far milder these some of these leftest people being ignored. But they're on the left, so it's OK.

    A lot of things that are said about Alex Jones, is made up B.S. never said it or completely taken out of context!!!! Yet something else taken right out of the leftest playbook.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 146member
    Alex Jones was more than political. He lied a lot, then claimed he was just an actor.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 15 of 15
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,327member
    Tim-

    I’ve been an Apple customer for over 30 years.  One reason has been Apple’s honesty in all things.

    I don’t believe you regarding Alex Jones or not “leaning”.

    If you were being honest something would have changed- but Jones was there for years, unchanged, and suddenly you remove him?

    Only 30 years ago people like you and me were censored for being gay.  You have failed to champion free speech for all.

    I dont like Alex Jones, but I hate fascism even more.

    Today you have become the fascists, proving Reagan right when he said:

    ”If Fascism ever comes to America it will be under the guise of liberalism.”

    My time with Apple May be coming to an end. Rather than being an all Apple household I now have a half dozen Linux machines and a Windows PC. (And still apple devices, but now I’m looking at others too.)

    Jessi
    Cool story bro. But guess what — Apple owns a private platform, so it’s not fascism. In fact their terms of use are very similar to Alex Jones’ own terms of use on his platform (his web forum) where he likewise says he can kick off offensive users. Oops! Yeah that’s the thing with private property, nobody is entitled to it. 

    The problem with hosting Jones was his speech harmed people — his lies convinced his listeners to shoot up pizza parlors and accuse grieving parents of lying about their children being murdered. He has no right to yell “Fire!” into the proverbial theater using Apple’s platform. Their house, their rules. 

    Loved your preamble about being a fan for
    thirty years — great way to signal what was coming next! Have fun with your Linux project. 
    Hold on a second. Alex Jones CAUSED people to shoot up a pizza parlor, etc? No, he told a bunch of stories, but people decided on their own to do stupid things.

    Personally, I think Jones is a bit of a nut, but find it offensive Apple or any other platform booted him when truly violent and deranged people such as those who align with Antifa remain.
    Jones intentionally made untrue statements about sex slaves being present, and used language encouraging his readers to take action. Yes.

    Just like you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater and say "Well, I didn't *make* them run!". Same nonsense.
This discussion has been closed.