In context: Apple has always been a pretty big proponent of user privacy, and its products and business practices often reflect this. Because of privacy concerns, the company has notoriously refused to unlock the smartphones of alleged criminals in the past— even in very high-profile cases— and you will find plenty of data settings on most of the tech giant devices.
For a while now, this insistence on privacy has been ingrained in the tech behemoth, and it seems to start at the edge. During a recent interview with ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook has gone so far as to argue openly in support of strong privacy protections in the past, and he continued to do so.
“I think this area needs to be regulated by the government,” Cook said, referring to the rampant data collection of the tech industry. “I’m not a fan of regulation in general. I think it can have unexpected consequences, but I think we all have to admit that when you’ve tried to do something and companies haven’t self-politicized, it’s time for rigorous regulation, and I think we’ve gone through that time.”
“I think we all have to admit that it’s time to have rigorous regulation when you’ve tried to do something and companies haven’t self-politicized, and I think we’ve gone through that time.”
Earlier in the same interview, Cook noted that “people should be skeptical” of large firms, advising users to carefully inspect tech firms (and, presumably, their data collection practices) before deciding to do business with them.
He did not, of course, waste the opportunity to simultaneously make Apple look good. “Privacy is one of this century’s top issues, in particular,” he said. “We don’t want to know all the details of your life… We want your data to be stored on your computer, because it’s between you and your phone, not Apple and you.”
Cook correctly notes that this is a “completely different” strategy than most other tech firms opt for, but that business model appears to have worked so far for Apple.
Cook has not called for more stringent regulations in the tech industry for the first time. “It’s important to control technology,” he said back in April. “There are now too many examples where the no rails have caused a (sic) great damage to society. We strongly advocate regulation-at this point I don’t see another path.” It remains to be seen whether or not politicians will heed the input from Cook.