Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'Privacy is a Fundamental Human Right'

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Apple CEO Tim Cook this evening sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN's Laurie Segall, where he discussed everything from his iPhone usage habits to the importance of privacy.

On the subject of device usage, Cook says that when he started using the new Screen Time feature built into iOS 12, he found he was spending too much time on the iPhone. "I found I was spending a lot more time than I should," he said. "I thought I was fairly disciplined about this. And I was wrong."


Cook said that Apple is aiming to provide the tools to consumers to let them make their own decisions about device usage, and what's considered too much will vary from person to person. He said that while Apple wants customers to be "incredibly satisfied and empowered," it's not the goal to get customers to spend all of their time on iOS devices.
I think the power is now shifted to the user and that has been What Apple has always been about - giving the power from the institution to the user. I am hopeful great things are going to happen from this.
Cook reiterated his stance on privacy, and called it a "fundamental human right," as he has done in the past. He said it's "not healthy" to point a finger at companies like Facebook, and instead, we should be focusing on making the web an "unbelievable place."
To me, and we feel this very deeply, we think privacy is a fundamental human right. So that is the angle that we look at it. Privacy from an American point of view is one of these key civil liberties that define what it is to be American.
Cook said customers can trust Apple to be "on their side." "We're the trusted adviser and company here," he said, explaining that people are not fully aware of how their data is being used and who has access to it. "I think this needs to be addressed."

The interviewer asked Cook whether or not he was concerned about machines taking over the world, and he said it's not something that he worries about. Instead, he is concerned about people becoming more machine-like.
I don't subscribe to machines the taking over the world. And I don't worry about that. I worry much more about people thinking like machines then machines thinking like people. I mean forgetting the humanity in things. Forgetting that all of our products should be infused with humanity. Forgetting that we have a broader obligation to society.
Cook said he doesn't consider himself to be political, and suggested that he would not run for political office.
I'm not political. I'm not sure I would really do well in that environment. I think that I can make the greatest contribution doing what I'm doing. [...] I love getting things done and I don't love the political machine in the background. I love Apple, it is the privilege of a lifetime to be leading this company at this time.
He also said that he believes Steve Jobs would support Apple's current trajectory when asked how Jobs would feel "about this moment in time."
In terms of the broader issue of humanity, that was his philosophy. That is the DNA of this company. Apple should always be trying to change the world, and change means make it better. That is the thing that we get up in the morning and focus on doing. And I don't see that changing. That is the north star that keeps us going.
Several snippets of Cook's full interview, which cover topics like DACA, immigration, tariffs, and more, are available over on CNN and are well worth checking out for those who want to see everything Cook had to say this evening.

Cook also did a separate interview with NPR, which covered topics like privacy, rumors that Apple had access to Facebook users' personal information, the new Screen Time feature, and the Trump administration.

Article Link: Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'Privacy is a Fundamental Human Right'
 

fermat-au

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Dec 7, 2009
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Does Tim Cook believe access to technology and the internet, is a Fundamental Human Right?
He often takes swipes at Google et. al. for their privacy while running a company that make tech for only the wealthy of the world.
 
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goobot

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Jun 26, 2009
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Says the guy who negotiated a secret deal to have Google pay Apple over $1B per year to make Google the default search engine on Safari on iOS. Apple may not be invading our privacy but they sure don't mind being enriched by letting other companies do it for them.
Let’s be realistic tho. 99% of people probably would make google their default anyway and it’s not like you can’t change it.
 

008325

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2007
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maybe its true for the American people or the people under democracy country but they are not acting the same on
Dictatorship country. Apple give up everything about privacy for money and market share.
it sounds like reasonable in company perspective, but if its the case, don't pretend apple like a super hero or take side with consumer or "human". its' very disgusting and makes you hypocritical.
 

corebeliefs

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Dec 28, 2016
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Aside from all the inconsistencies of Tim Cook's position re: China and Google, it is true that high Apple hardware costs do make it profitable for Apple, without mining and selling our data. If they started to do that, their excuse for charging so much for hardware would go completely away.
 

Michael CM1

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2008
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This app time usage limit is th most un-corporate thing they have ever done. This could be great for users. Forcing social apps to compete for time will only make the apps better.
I like Vero's use of it so far by just letting you know how much time you spend on there. I'm probably glad that didn't exist back in the day when I played World of Warcraft.
 

lu0s3r322

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Nov 28, 2005
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I don't see Tim Cook as a political person. Maybe relative to Jobs but I'd rather have Cook's advocacy than Jobs'. Things that he's spoken out about are largely about values important to Apple and things that I think most people agree about. Climate change, DACA, privacy, gay rights, etc. I'd rather have someone of his importance defending these important issues than ignoring them. I agree that he would not do well in the political arena though, I think that's more of what he's saying.
 

jdogg836

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QCassidy352

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Mar 20, 2003
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You’re not political? His whole statement is invalid.
He speaks out on social issues, not so much on political ones. Obviously those things can overlap to the extent that politicians and political parties take stands on social issues, but I do see a difference between being an advocate for social positions and being a political partisan or an actual politician.

Does Tim Cook believe access to technology and the internet, is a Fundamental Human Right?
He often takes swipes at Google et. al. for their privacy while running a company that make tech for only the wealthy of the world.
It's an interesting point. Companies like FB and Google can bring low cost tech to more people because of how their business model works, but that same business model inherently involves more intrusion into privacy.

I think it's good both Apple and Google exist. I'm glad that Google can offer its services to people who can't afford to pay Apple's prices, but I'm also glad that I can choose to pay those prices and not surrender my personal data to Google.
 

asiga

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2012
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The user privacy has nothing to do with what Tim Cook is saying. Protecting the user privacy implies giving us the power to avoid that none of our data is sent through apps. But the whole of the current Apple business is about our data and the “big data” trend, so Tim Cook will keep pretending that not collaborating with the FBI in crime investigation and the hypocritical disabling of these “like” buttons means something for our privacy. No, that doesn’t have anything to do with privacy. To begin with, one of the first steps in respecting our privacy is letting us choose to stay in former iOS versions that collect less data from us. But Apple business depends on services from our data... so please, Tim shut up because you are not being honest.

The day you give to iOS the same degree of user freedom that old OSX versions had, the day you stop those nagging pop ups that later you use for pretending that 95% of users want your updates, and the day when iOS lets the user completely stop collecting any data -yes, even locally in the device- (and stop deciding when I have a new memory... please Apple memories are mine, not decided by the Photos app), then when that day comes, you’ll be able to talk about protecting the user privacy.
 
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