Apple Inc. CEO Slams Facebook Inc, Google Inc Over ‘Gobbling’ User Data


Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his views on privacy, the importance of protecting user data, and the company’s approach to these subjects at the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Champions of Freedom event on Wednesday. Cook slammed other tech rivals for collecting and monetizing user data. Calling him “characteristically passionate,” TechCrunch shared the details on Cook’s speech.

Apple not in favor of monetizing user data

Cook said that a large number of successful companies which have made fortunes in Silicon Valley are doing business by “lulling their customers into complacency” over their personal information. These companies, according to Cook, are gathering each and every scrap of information about their customers and are trying to monetize them, but Apple will never be such a company.

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According to Cook, Apple never believes that customers need to give their personal information for a service that is free. The ambit of personal information on mobile devices has even expanded, with people storing data about their health, finances and homes. Apple puts its faith in the fact that customers should be in control over their information. Occasionally, free services attract customers, but they are not worth sharing personal information, email, search history and even family photos that are data-mined and sold for various purposes. “And we think some day, customers will see this for what it is,” Cook said.

Cook targets rivals, governments

While speaking at the event, Cook made some solid points, most of which seemingly targeted Google. Google gobbles up a lot of data because its business model is to earn money through its ad network. Similarly, Facebook and Twitter also rely heavily on user data.

Further, Cook said it is “incredibly dangerous” that some government agencies are asking too much by demanding uncontrolled access to consumer data and devices. Cook said that deploying a “master key” to give governments access to data has a “chilling effect” on First Amendment rights and dents the country’s founding principles.

Talking of Apple’s commitment on the matter, Cook added that the company has introduced some changes to its encryption standards in iOS 8. iOS 8 does not save encryption keys, due to which the company cannot breach the code and give governments access to code. Data security is one of the most desired features by customers, and therefore, Apple has been offering encryption services like iMessage and FaceTime, as it believes, “The contents of your text messages and your video chats is none of our business.” He said that Apple will continue to offer encryption and focus on building products that keep people’s information safe.