Apple CEO Tim Cook has hit out at Silicon Valley giants who are obsessed with collecting user data.
In an interview with HBO’s Vice News Tonight, he countered claims that companies need to siphon user data in order to make their products better.
Cook didn’t call out any tech firms in particular, but he seemed to be referring to the likes of Facebook and Google.
‘The narrative that some companies will try to get you to believe is: ‘I’ve got to take all of your data to make any service better,” Cook explained.
‘Well, I don’t believe them. Whoever’s telling you that, it’s a bunch of bunk.’
Apple has long maintained strict policies over what kinds of data it’s allowed to collect from users, as well as how it handles the information.
Earlier this year, Apple began requiring developers to clearly communicate how their users’ personal data would be used in apps.
By comparison, Facebook and Google have repeatedly come under fire for how they treat customer data, with Facebook bearing the brunt of the discourse in particular.
Last week, Facebook revealed that it had been hit by a data breach that gave hackers complete access to 50 million users’ profiles. The firm then logged an additional 40 million users out of their accounts as a security measure, bringing the total number of users who were possibly affected to 90 million.
Cook candidly expressed that that kind of data breach wouldn’t happen at Apple, where user data is closely guarded, even from Apple itself.
‘We’re not in the business of building a detailed profile of you,’ Cook said.
‘The way we go into product design, we challenge ourselves to collect as little as possible. And when we have it, we challenge ourselves to encrypt it in the end.’
Apple’s critics have often argued that the firm has lost out against competitors because of its reluctance to incorporate user data in its products.
For example, some say Apple’s Siri could edge out Alexa if it took advantage of user data.
Cook denied this and went on to say that Apple’s insistence to respect user data is something that will live on beyond his tenure.
‘I think the next person [who runs Apple], I don’t want to commit them, but I can’t imagine it,’ Cook said.
‘It’s not in my imagination that somebody would just say ‘oh, time to change.’ I don’t see it.’
He went on to call privacy one of the most important issues of this century, maintaining that Apple even protects users’ data in China.
‘We worked with a Chinese company to provide iCloud,’ Cook said. ‘But, the keys to the data are ours.’