Apple’s CEO Tim Cook solidified his place as the privacy champion’s brother in arms Thursday when he said privacy was everyone’s basic right.
“We see that privacy is a fundamental human right that people have. We are going to do everything that we can to help maintain that trust,” Cook said during an NPR interview.
Apple and other tech companies have taken heat from foreign governments and the public over privacy concerns raised after the National Security Agency’s 2013 document leaks. Companies have since retaliated by openly denouncing government tactics or, in Apple’s case, changed the technology to remove their liability and give customers more privacy by default. “The government comes to us from time to time, and if they ask in a way that is correct, and has been through the courts as is required, then to the degree that we have information, we give that information,” Cook said.
Cook’s interview comes after its App Store was breached through malware infected code used by developers, sparking the removal of dozens of Chinese apps.
Apple recently clarified its privacy guidelines on its updated website and increased the security of data stored on its mobile devices, encrypting much of what law enforcement would want access to, including text messages.
The company has vocally opposed to the mass collection of consumer data by the government for surveillance and by other companies who use the data for profit. At a privacy conference in June, Cook called out Google for “lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information” by “gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it.”
While rival tech companies Google and Facebook have provided more transparency regarding government information requests, Apple is taking a slightly different route by making security a key quality for its devices and software — except for iCloud which is not encrypted and was previously hacked.
“If you buy something from the App Store, we do know what you bought from the App Store, obviously,” Cook said. But the goal isn’t “to trade information from app to app to app to app.”