Tim Cook privacy quote

Tim Cook took time out of his busy schedule yesterday to talk about privacy with folks attending EPIC’s Champions of Freedom event in Washington. EPIC, a non-profit research center focused on emerging privacy issues, was honoring the CEO for his superior “corporate leadership.”

Cook addressed attendees via a remote video feed, and spoke about a number of topics regarding privacy, security and what they mean to Apple versus other Silicon Valley tech giants. TechCrunch has a transcription of the speech, and he takes quite a few jabs at Facebook and Google.

“I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

The rhetoric is in line with previous comments made by Tim Cook, who has been touting the fact that Apple isn’t in the business of collecting data for several months now. It depends on hardware sales to make most of it money, while others like Google and Facebook depend on advertising.

“We believe the customer should be in control of their own information. You might like these so-called free services, but we don’t think they’re worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data mined and sold off for god knows what advertising purpose. And we think some day, customers will see this for what it is.”

This is a dig specifically at Google, who launched a new cloud-based storage service for photos and videos at its I/O event last week. The company made a splash by announcing that it would include free unlimited storage, but many believe—including Cook, it seems—that it still comes at a cost.

Cook went on to talk about encryption, another hot topic with many Silicon Valley companies who are in an ongoing battle with the government to build a back door into their services for law enforcement agencies. “If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it too,” he quipped.

“Removing encryption tools from our products all together, as some in Washington would like us to do, would only hurt law abiding citizens who rely on us to protect their data. The bad guys will still encrypt, it’s easy to do and readily available. Now, we have a deep respect for law enforcement, and we work together with them in many areas, but on this issue we disagree. So let me be crystal clear — weakening encryption, or taking it away, harms good people that are using it for the right reasons. And ultimately, I believe it has a chilling effect on our First Amendment rights and undermines our country’s founding principles.”

Keep in mind that Tim Cook is, among other things, an Apple salesmen, so these comments should be taken with a certain amount of skepticism. But he’s not far off on Google and Facebook: both have taken heat over user privacy, and both depend on ads for more than 80% of their revenue.

Source: TechCrunch

  • Merman123

    “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it.”

    So true.

    • Yeah that statement really hit me the hardest too. This really is a good read and glad to hear Cook speaking out against those companies. The data mining era we now live in really disgusts me.

    • Benedict

      Is this really Mr. Cook’s only answer to Google’s unlimited storage offer? He must feel very innocent, because it sounds like his services are for free and he is the last one who takes money (cash – not surf habbits to offer adverts) from users. Moreover he has full control over the people who use his devices in a way that was never possible before. If you want it, you can turn of all google services and still use your device. ou can’t do that with Apple’s devices. Moreover you are bound to the companies product line.

      • Merman123

        Google is in the business of making money off of user data. Apple makes money by selling you solid devices at high prices. I’ll take Apple’s tradeoff anytime.

      • Jason Baroni

        I totally agree with you. Apple is not jealous, they are just in control of their storage limits. They don’t change it because they don’t want to, not because they can’t. Tim Cook puts it best about privacy, against Google and Facebook. People may not want to understand your point because they are Google and Facebook users, and privacy issues is something tough to assume, even for the user.

      • Actually, Apple too is in the business of making money off user data…that’s what iAds (advertising. apple. com) do; targeted advertising.

      • Kurt

        Maybe he is attacking Google and Facebook because of jealousy? Android devs make more money over at Android, and well Ping was a complete failure. But should be apologizing to us in addition to outing other companies for privacy issues. He is in bed with the NSA just like them. He should have included Samsung, Yahoo, Microsoft also.

      • That_Fruitarian

        Jealousy?!? Lol

      • askep3

        If you’re talking about apps, it’s actually it’s easier for people to pirate on andriod, so debs make less money

      • Kurt

        Devs make more money regardless of pirating. iOS held that crown up until recently. I’m sure if you look iDB has an article on it.

      • N&LH

        False. Developers make more money over at IOS not Android.

        ‘Ping was a complete failure’. hmm same as Google +. Which I don’t know what is unique or special about it over Facebook and Twitter.

      • pawfyd

        G+ is great and has a lot od amazing features. You have clearly never tried to use it. It’s my main social network.

      • N&LH

        I have tired Google + before. I could not find anything special or a reason let me consider it my main social network. Anyway, it comes to personal preference.

      • Der Faust

        don’t forget Google Buzz…..it did real well…. :)….(sarcasm)

      • Kurt

        It is true. Look it up. Devs NOW make more money over at Android than at iOS.

        Google + is worthless. Glad you can admit that Ping was a failure and you didn’t try to say it was successful. Maybe there is some hope for you and honesty.

      • Rowan09

        You can turn off Gmail, etc really? Apple doesn’t control anyone people choose, we can also jailbreak. What Apple services are turned on? You don’t need iCloud or need to use iTunes

      • really

        yes, you can turn off gmail. you can disable any app on android. the fact that you don’t know this means you obviously have never used an android device, therefore you shouldn’t be speaking about android PERIOD. and, is this all you do rowan? do you have a life at all? you post all day long on every single article on this site, and its the most pro apple stuff ever. you must suck tim cooks peewee (lol, gotta get through that censor)

      • Rowan09

        So you buy an Android phone and then turn off everything Google including all there services please give me the steps? I own a Note 2 and S4 and I don’t suck any man’s private maybe you do so you mentioned it.

      • Gotta agree with some of what he said, you’re definitely the resident iDB troll here. Always über
        Apple and waiting to defend anything anyone says against them.

      • Rowan09

        Troll because I comment when I disagree or people just telling a lie. Since you’ve been tracking me like the NSA tell me how many times I’ve trolled? Am I trolling now because I agree with Cooks statements? Does it mean I won’t use Facebook anymore, no it doesn’t but it’s true what’s he’s saying and I live with the trade-off for Facebook.

      • really

        You do realize everyone can click your username and see you’ve made 3787 comments, and read all of them, right? And every one of them makes you sound like your Tim cooks boyfriend.

      • Rowan09

        Oh yes click on my name and read all my comments. Dude your name is really for a really because no one hear read all my comments.

      • Kurt

        +1 One of the most biased on here. Remember, Apple NEVER copies, and they “invent” everything. At least that’s what he believes. I asked him many times how much he gets paid by apple. But he won’t tell me.

      • Rowan09

        Kurt why tell lies. You are the one who always say Apple copies. Samsung is the inventor of everything. Apple does copy, so does Samsung, Microsoft, etc. I’ve said Apple usually waits until tech matures (besides 64Bit on a phone which you all said was useless and now everyone is doing it) before joining the game. You guys like to tell lies just because I prefer Apple devices. I don’t hate Android just trolls like you who make it seem as if Google does everything right and Apple does everything wrong.

      • Kurt

        no

      • Benedict

        Apple’s control is much higher than others. Apple knows precisely what app and service you are using, because Apple defines them and restricts others. This gives them a very clear image of your habits. You are not able to install an app of what Apple has no control on (let’s put jailbreaking aside because it’s “breaking out of this jail”). You don’t need to register to Gmail or other services in order to use the phone. Moreover, using Apple products, you are even more bound to their ecosystem. It’s just at the first sight that you think you are not beeing controlled…

      • Rowan09

        Anyone that chooses a system is making a trade-off. Please don’t make it seem as if Google is this free system where individuals do as they are please without any say from Google.

      • really

        Who said you can do whatever you want on android? I don’t see where anyone said that in this entire comments thread.

      • iBanks

        I’m confused on what services can’t be turned off? Also it wasn’t until now that Android devices would only allow you to install apps without accepting ALL permissions of that all at once. Now like iOS you can disable certain access to apps like camera or location.

      • Benedict

        Android 4.3 had an option for app permission settings which was removed later and now comes back in Android M.

      • iBanks

        Lol @ 4.3. It being temp available and then removed still doesn’t make it readily available. There’s been several updates since 4.3 as I am running 5.0 right now on my moto X. So again, it’s not until now that such an “permanent” benefit arrives to “some” android devices.

      • Benedict

        It just caused problems. Tell me which app you restricted? I personally have even no use for this. If you don’t give permissions, just don’t install an app. Moreover on Android most apps need there permissions to work properly. Nice to have but not needed. Therefore dozens of other real benefits are available over an iOS device.

      • iBanks

        That’s the point. You said that you can turn off all google services and still use your phone, which isn’t the case. You can’t download an app without an gmail account, so therefore that service needs to be active. My point was that it just began to where you can download apps and modify individual access to different services/features within the phone where as beforehand you couldn’t download an app at all without hitting the “accept” button on all permissions it’s asking for to install the app. So turning off all Google services (permissions as well) will not allow you to still use your phone as you mentioned in your original post.

      • really

        What do you mean the Gmail service has to be active? You just create an account. Just like you need an apple account to install ios apps, duh. And actually, on android you can install apps outside of the play store, and can also get them from the Amazon app store.

        Just because you create a Gmail account doesn’t mean you have to use the Gmail app or even the email address, it just links your apps to an account.

        Cant believe someone with the username iBanks is an ios fanboy.

      • Benedict

        No you are mistaken. On Android, you can install apps as you like without any Google account, service or Gmail name. There are different options: You can use a different app store e.g. Amazon’s, Samsung’s, GetJar, Fireplace, Yandex etc., download the app from a website, let it be send through email or copy it via USB from a PC. That permissions can’t be individualy blocked is true without root right now.

  • 12345678

    hmmm, then why were apple products able to be under surveillance for the NSA? Seems a bit hypocritical. Google is not trying to monetize stuff from getting data so what is Tim Cook talking about?

    • Just because Apple products are vulnerable to certain digital attacks does not mean that they were designed to do so.

      As for monetisation, Google collects information about your search and browsing habits and uses it to serve you interest-based ads, which are paid for by the advertisers.

      • Exactly! Not many people understand that the NSA and QCHQ have been using exploits in common software protocols. Heartbeat, openSSL, etc. They have teams of advanced programmers finding exploits into software, it’s much easier than getting a company to add in a backdoor.

    • Rowan09

      Of course they are that’s how they make money.

  • So so so very much true.

  • really

    So… what about the celebs privacy and security when icloud got hacked and all those nude pics were released? I don’t think apple has any room to talk.

    • sadaN

      I may be wrong here, but wasn’t is it a case in which their account got hacked rather than iCloud itself?

      • Rich- Don’

        definitely maybe

      • John

        They were accounts which did not have two-step verification added.

      • Der Faust

        and they had crappy passwords….

    • Yash Gorana

      This is something that everyone needs to know. The strength of a chain is determined by it’s weakest link.

      Two things went wrong:
      1) Apple’s security check was very thin at Find My iPhone login page.
      2) The celebrities had really really crappy passwords.

      What the hackers did was collect the e-mails of celebs(very easy). Then they prepared a “RAINBOW TABLE” with the help of which they can permute/combine passwords to form a password (moderate). Now all they wanted to do is inject this username-generated password combination into the login page until it finally opened.

      Now this is where apple’s security went thin, the login attempt count wasn’t checked (that means it did not count how many times username password combination was wrong, they should’ve had kept max 3/5 incorrect login attempts and then sent a mail saying someone tried to login and blah blah).

      Two step verification was added after this event, prior to this everyone was all blind.

      The hackers found the weakest link, broke it and let the world enjoy 😛

  • Rich- Don’

    tom cock

  • n9yty

    And yet, according to rumor, Apple wants to lock us out of the iOS9 devices and potentially Mac OS X… So, Tim, really? Do you mean “We believe the customer should be in control of their own information.”??? Shouldn’t that include access to the devices we purchase? So why have to jailbreak at all? If Apple *REALLY* thought we should be in control of our own information, we would have open systems already.

    • sadaN

      i have used jailbroken iPhones since 2007, still, I understand how threatening it’s for a company trying to make sure our data is safe.

      I know, you can handle the responsibility, and so can I, but not everyone can…

      • Kurt

        Remember when Apple made us pay for firmware upgrades on our iPod Touches? iPhones upgraded for free but not iPod Touches.

      • sadaN

        What does that have to do with the jailbreak talk?

      • Kurt

        It doesn’t. Why would you think it had to do with jailbreaking? Wasn’t it clear it was a reply to your “iPhones since 2007”? How did you not connect the dots??

    • Apples reasons for doing it is because it make your phone more vulnerable to outside attacks. Google throw in loads of new features and SDK’s and then deal with the consequences, apple locks it down, sorts as many consequences out as they can and then publicly releases it. Problem is people are impatient.

    • iBanks

      Your information and having an open system is completely different. But you say “why have to jailbreak at all?” Well, Android is an “open” system, so why have to “root an device” at all?

      • n9yty

        Different for you, maybe, but not for me. My information includes all of the information on a device I purchase. What I do with it should be up to me, not up to Apple. Apple really needs to get over itself and thinking they know better than the people who actually own the products. If the only way you can make something secure is to prevent people from fully using it, then don’t put a power switch on it – problem solved. 🙂 But, despite having a long history of using Apple products, I’m not a fanatic like many are. I doubt Apple could do ANYTHING that fanatics would think was wrong, even if Microsoft/Google/Etc were blasted for doing the same things. Apple knows it is best to remove features from products to make them thin, despite a large portion of the userbase that would rather have FUNCTION over FORM. But Apple knows best. This is just one more area where Apple will pontificate about their position being the “right” one, and everyone should just fall in line.

  • If Tim really thinks that its wrong for Facebook and Google to profit from our data then apple has to make a more privacy driven social network. I for one would love to get away from Facebook.

    • Me too. Maybe they’d make something like Google+, but without making it all about Apple, so users of any device would enjoy it.

      • pawfyd

        Google+ is already here and it’s not all about Google. It’s about anything you want it to be. It’s really an amazing social network.

      • It’s not any good unless you’re a huge Google user. It’s a decent social network. But them forcing us into it didn’t help.

      • It’s very much about Google. It’s not as good if you don’t use other Google services.

    • Kurt

      I guess you don’t remember the failure that is, Ping. 😉

      • I remember ping, it was hardly a social network haha! It was focused around music which scared people off, hardly a facebook competitor.

      • sadaN

        I remember ping also, but for some reason I remember it being something focused on messaging

  • askep3

    A lot of people I know complain how Apple products always cost a lot, and how the actual hardware doesn’t cost nearly as much as they sell it for, but I feel that the extra money we pay goes here, to make sure they don’t go through our private info.

    Other devices are relatively cheap because they are “subsidized” by all the advertisement and information selling.

  • n0ahcruz3

    So why does the president not allowed to use an iPhone? And Snowden doesn’t want to use iphone? Lol

    • Rowan09

      The president has an iPhone last time I checked and an iPad. Why are we arguing like Tim Cook is saying something false? It’s true even if a regular guy made these statements.

      • n0ahcruz3

        he uses a blackberry lol

      • Rowan09

        My correction he has an iPad.

      • really

        see everyone, rowan thinks everything Tim cook says is 100% true, he would know, he’s Tim cooks boy toy.

        Remember when Tim cook said he showers everyday with his apple watch? Uh oh, come to find out, you can’t shower with it or it gets moisture inside and behind the screen. It’s even in the user manual.

        But since Tim cook… aka God himself said it, it must be true.

        And who cares what kind of phone the worst president EVER has? I’d be embarrassed to have the same phone as obama.

      • Rowan09

        Dude who said anything about showering with the Apple Watch? Are you saying if anyone showers with the Apple watch moisture will get behind the screen (lie)? I would like a smart watch to be water resistant and I think only my Pebble can do that right now. Tim Cook is NOT GOD and I would never make that statement only you and I agree with anyone when they tell the truth. When Cook came out as a homosexual I blasted him, so this cute boy toy statement is just comical. Keep them coming I have all day. Are you saying to me his statements about Google and Facebook are a lie?

      • really

        Ur so fun to get all riled up bro. Calm down, take a chill pill.

      • Rowan09

        No not at all, I’m cool.

    • Chinch07

      President Obama has an iPhone and iPad…

  • pawfyd

    Dude, no one was using Ping, while Google+ is used by millions daily.

    • SkyFall

      Hahaha yeah because Google forced us to. Remember when we had to transfer our YouTube accounts into a G+ account so that we can post comments/ make new accounts? And no way millions use G+ sure they have an account and all but thats it. Most people use Fb, Twitter, Instagram, G+ is used way less..

      • Rowan09

        I only use it for commenting and that’s it. This guy tried to pull that one out. Lol

      • SkyFall

        Same, but i read somewhere that the guy who was responsible for G+ left the company, hence why Google isn’t relying on G+ as much as before (Google Photos for example), so there is still hope for a better commenting system.

    • Rowan09

      Yes as Skyfall said I didn’t sign up for Google + because I wanted to it was indirectly forced. Have you ever tried commenting on YouTube with a mobile device without Google +? It’s the worst experience ever and makes me wonder why they even have a commenting system.

    • N&LH

      Because Google has forced people to use it. Anyone has Gmail account so will have Google + account.

    • iBanks

      It wasn’t until G+ became an preinstalled app on Android devices to where millions started using it. Then then the iOS app came about and tech blogs like iDB began to give insight about it. Ping+ wasn’t forced upon mobile devices yet and didn’t get quite the coverage or guaranteed visual of the app like it did when it became loaded onto the Android devices by default.

      • pawfyd

        Doesn’t matter how it became popular. What matters is that lots of different platform users post on G+ everyday and enjoy being there. 🙂

      • iBanks

        It does matter because you made a claim that no one was using Ping. If it was forced upon everyone just as G+ was, it would have become just as popular. That’s the point.

  • Manuel Molina

    Tim should consider giving more GB on their iCloud for a better price and maybe people won’t take their pictures and other content to free servers to be sold to other people.

  • Mongoose333

    The big difference is that with Google, Facebook etc, you aren’t the customer, you are the product. The advertisers are the customer. With Apple, you are the customer and the devices are the product.

  • Kash Gummaraju

    then how do iADs work? By not collecting user data?

  • Benedict

    True. But you literally think they “read” your stuff – so someone sits at gmail – like on the bus and sneaks through your email? What does he find there and what should he use this info for? Don’t you think Google rather looks for things you buy to offer you adverts instead of reading the mail of your aunty? I think there are other institutions who read your mail if your suspicious to them. Changing the email provider won’t help. Sounds a little naive. And no I don’t have a problem with Google Now telling me when my amazon package is comming – because Amazon, Visa etc. already know about it…

  • Kurt

    Ping was a failure. Google + maybe much better but still won’t get me to use it.

    • Rowan09

      Of course it was, it was more of a music thing than an actual social network. Google + on the other hand is trying to be a social network, but is only good for replying to YouTube comments.

      • Kurt

        That’s such BS. It was absolutely trying to be a social network around music. They wanted to link it with Facebook. They had you following other people so you can share your thoughts on music. It was a terrible ploy to get people to buy more on iTunes.

      • Rowan09

        It was just a promotion to buy iTunes content. It was a fail and I never used it so I can’t say if it was good or bad.

  • really

    Y would you turn off every single Google service? That makes no sense.

    Oh wow, you own 3 year old android phones? Cool bro. So they have had features all these years that the newest iphones are just now getting? Lol.

    • Rowan09

      Oh so first it was I don’t know anything about Android and now I own the Note 2 and S4 and its wow I own old Android phones. I made my statement because Benedict said you can turn off all of Google’s services and you can’t on iPhones which is a lie. You can turn off iMessage, FaceTime, iCloud, Siri, spotlight search, etc. What features did they have that iPhones are just now getting please tell me? I’ve never gone on an Android blog to fight for Apple but you guys love Apple blogs to fight for Android. Good job how much is Google paying you since you since you and your buddies are insinuating I’m work for Apple?

  • Kurt

    Leo Leporte “The Tech Guy” at Twit, just stated Android over took iOS.

    • N&LH

      False argument without any reference ..I don’t care if someone has said something. You should support what you say by providing references……As usual keep arguing about something, and don’t want to accept facts.

      Developers make more money on IOS over Android, this has been the case from day one. Even most/all apps released first on IOS then Android….

      • Kurt

        I think you just might be right for the first time we have discussed here on Disqus. Google does the same as Apple where they pay for exclusives for games/apps for a period of time. Typically being a few months. So you wrong again there. But I’m actually feeling proud of you for being right otherwise today. Good job.