Apple CEO Tim Cook Discusses Privacy, China, Alex Jones and More in VICE Interview

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Apple CEO Tim Cook recently sat down for an interview with VICE News Tonight on HBO's Elle Reeve, and the footage from the interview aired tonight on HBO.

Cook covered topics that include the importance of privacy, Apple's relationship with China, and why Apple blocked conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars app and podcast. The full VICE News Tonight on HBO interview can be watched below.


On privacy and its impact on Siri, Cook said that Apple doesn't believe that personal data is needed to make services better. "Whoever's telling you that -- it's a bunch of bonk," he said.

Cook also said Apple has not made it easier for the Chinese government to get data from Chinese customers because the company uses the same encryption everywhere.
It's not easy for anybody to get it. 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.
On the topic of Alex Jones, Cook said that the removal of the Infowars show from Apple podcasts is an example of the importance of human curation. Cook also said that Apple does not lean one way or the other politically, and it wasn't taking a political stance removing Jones' offensive content.
What users want from us and what we've always provided them is a curated platform. 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.
Cook went on to explain that there was no coordination between tech companies after Facebook and Twitter both removed Infowars content after Apple did. "I've never even had a conversation about [Alex Jones] with other tech companies," he said. "We make our decisions independently and I think that's important."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple CEO Tim Cook Discusses Privacy, China, Alex Jones and More in VICE Interview
 
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JosephAW

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May 14, 2012
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At first I thought he was talking about profit when saying they collect as little as possible. :p
 
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GuruZac

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Seems reasonable actually. Apple’s biggest priority needs to be getting out of China long term. Thankfully there are no tariffs at this point in Apple’s core products, but that could change over time and quite frankly, China’s government isn’t interested in a shared global peace.
 

nt5672

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Jun 30, 2007
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Well, I hate to break it to you Tim, but understand that I was raised to be independent, so I don't need a nanny protecting me or my children. You can call it what you want, but at the end of the day its still censorship.

Now if Tim really believes this, then just provide a switch to select curated or not and see how many want curated versus not censored. I'll bet a significant portion will select no censorship. But no, that'll never happen because it will expose the political bias that Tim denies.
 

- rob -

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Apr 18, 2012
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He’s become a great speaker. I don’t doubt his sincerity.

In some respects he is like Steve Jobs in willingness to deride companies with “no taste.”

For example, Tim clearly thinks very little of Facebook or possibly even Google’s “taste” in that their business models are tied up in leveraging personal data for profit.

I think Steve would have been much more forward about it—“Facebook is a trash company, the people running it are bad, we don’t like what they are doing.”

Also, I don’t think Jobs would have been as diplomatic in how Cook described the needn’t to work not only with congress but their staff to educate and collaborate on good laws.
 
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Rogifan

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Nov 14, 2011
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Easy for Cook to say the device should be smart when Apple’s business model is selling hardware. But how about companies whose business model isn’t selling hardware?
 
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212rikanmofo

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Jan 31, 2003
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Yeah right, Apple doesn't lean one way or the other, what complete BS. Wrong move to censor people like that. Not cool Apple. I thought you were a different kind of company that had better morals than that. You're beginning to fit into the same category as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

This makes me miss Apple when Steve was still the CEO.
 

BasicGreatGuy

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Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
Like it or not, Apple would have been seen as approving of what Alex stands for, just continuing to make the podcasts available. At times, the company name and brand has to be protected. In my opinion, this was one of those times.
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Can't believe he didn't mention the elephant in the room FFS... that elephant being an updated Mac Mini.
Did you bother watching the interview? He didn't mention it, because it wasn't asked nor was it part of the periphery.

Unlike here, a lot of people are able to stick to the subjects at hand, without going off on biased tangents.
 

ghostface147

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May 28, 2008
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Alex Jones is a fringe lunatic who peddles hate, anger, conspiracy, and illogical statements. I’m glad people like him are banned. Some would argue that some on the left (antifa) also are hate groups. Some say that tech is censoring conservatism. With that I disagree. Breitbart is alive and well, as is daily wire, Fox News, and many other right wing outlets. However they don’t (overall) peddle hate, anger, and conspiracy to the levels of Alex Jones. I don’t see Steve Bannon or Ben Shapiro wearing reptilian masks and going on and about gay frogs.
 

az431

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Well, I hate to break it to you Tim, but understand that I was raised to be independent, so I don't need a nanny protecting me or my children. You can call it what you want, but at the end of the day its still censorship.

Now if Tim really believes this, then just provide a switch to select curated or not and see how many want curated versus not censored. I'll bet a significant portion will select no censorship. But no, that'll never happen because it will expose the political bias that Tim denies.
Yes, it's censorship, no one has claimed otherwise. But there's no evidence that Apple has removed content purely on the basis of political stance, which if it did, would be quite dumb since it would affect its bottom line.

The content that Apple has removed is content where the author blatantly threatens other people, promotes hatred and violent acts towards others based on their political beliefs, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

If you think such content belongs anywhere in society then it's time to review your moral code.

And even if censoring such content is wrong --it's not-- Apple has the right to do whatever it wants with its business, just as you have the right to run your own affairs.
 

Black Magic

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Sep 30, 2012
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Alex Jones shouldn't have been banned.
Don't like what he's saying - then don't listen to him.

Simple as that.
So if a man was standing outside of a school zone cussing out little kids as they go by, is your answer to just don't listen to them? What if that sick behavior spawns more useful idiots to do the same because it is now going viral. Just ignore it? Sometimes you have to step up and do something on platforms and territory you own to keep it attractive for all involved.
 

morphineseason

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Apr 1, 2007
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Anyone else think his demeanor changed a bit when she started poking about Alex Jones? Specifically when she asks if he's collaborated with other companies to get him banned. The forward lean, the wide eyes, the almost yelling his response at her. I don't buy the constantly humble act either. He might not personally want to put himself on a pedestal, that's fine, but is he really that blind to ignore the reality that he has such great power and influence? He is THE face of tech for a lot of the world.
 

Black Magic

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Sep 30, 2012
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Anyone else think his demeanor changed a bit when she started poking about Alex Jones? Specifically when she asks if he's collaborated with other companies to get him banned. The forward lean, the wide eyes, the almost yelling his response at her. I don't buy the constantly humble act either. He might not personally want to put himself on a pedestal, that's fine, but is he really that blind to ignore the reality that he has such great power and influence? He is THE face of tech for a lot of the world.

I thought it was incredibly weird that she asked him "why didn't you talk to other companies about Alex?". Dumb question.
 
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morphineseason

macrumors regular
Apr 1, 2007
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I thought it was incredibly weird that she asked him "why didn't you talk to other companies about Alex?". Dumb question.
To be fair, it's Vice. Extreme leftists. She obviously wasn't going to push the real issue at hand that much. She's probably glad he's gone so she can be spoonfed her safe CNN nightly news, followed by some Jimmy Kimmel on ABC to give her some giggles.
 
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