Apple’s CEO Tim Cook says “Don’t believe” tech companies that say they need your data.
Although not mentioning any companies by name, he appeared to be pointing the finger at companies such as Google and Facebook, the advertising giants, which rely on data sharing with third parties.
He hit out at those companies that data leads to superior products, saying in an interview with Vice that such claims are a “bunch of bunk.”
Cook said, “The narrative that some companies will try to get you to believe is: ‘I’ve got to take all of your data to make my service better.’ Well, don’t believe them.””
“Whoever’s telling you that, it’s a bunch of bunk,” he added.
Apple’s approach to privacy has long been a distinctive one. The company continues to roll out new hardware that makes it more difficult for external bodies, and even for Apple itself, to access user data and information.
Over the last few years, the way Facebook treated customer data has come under fire. The most notable example was the Cambridge Analytica scandal, because of the implications that had for the 2016 US election and for outcome in the UK of the referendum to leave the EU, in June 2016.
Google has not been without its critics either. There have been arguments made against Apple’s approach to “collect as little data as possible.” The argument being that this conservative approach damages the development of core products like Siri, especially with fierce competition from Amazon’s Alexa.
However, Tim Cook reiterated Apple’s position saying he considers privacy “one of the important issues of the 21st century.”
He added that he is not typically a “pro-regulation kind of person,” but he would be willing to work with lawmakers to educate them and ensure that tech companies create products that are “great for society.””I think some level of government regulation is important to come out on that,” Cook told Vice.
Apple itself came under fire earlier this year about its commitment to user privacy following its decision to begin hosting Chinese users’ iCloud accounts in a new data centre within China’s borders.
Cook insisted that Apple has not compromised user privacy in China.
The concerns came from critics who argued there could potentially be a threat to curb users’ freedom of speech as the Chinese authorities would have easier access to data stored in the cloud such as emails and texts.
Cook’s response was to insist that Apple’s encryption policies are “the same in every country” and that the company continues to have ultimate control.
“I wouldn’t get caught up in where’s the location of it. We have servers located in many different countries in the world. They’re not easier to get data from being in one country versus the next.”
In the UK and Europe, with the introduction of GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation, our privacy is more secure. GDPR is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas