Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘Privacy is a Fundamental Human Right’
Apple CEO Tim Cook this evening sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN’s Laurie Segall, where he discussed everything from his iPhone usage habits to the importance of privacy.
On the subject of device usage, Cook says that when he started using the new Screen Time feature built into iOS 12, he found he was spending too much time on the iPhone. “I found I was spending a lot more time than I should,” he said. “I thought I was fairly disciplined about this. And I was wrong.”
Cook said that Apple is aiming to provide the tools to consumers to let them make their own decisions about device usage, and what’s considered too much will vary from person to person. He said that while Apple wants customers to be “incredibly satisfied and empowered,” it’s not the goal to get customers to spend all of their time on iOS devices.
I think the power is now shifted to the user and that has been What Apple has always been about – giving the power from the institution to the user. I am hopeful great things are going to happen from this.
Cook reiterated his stance on privacy, and called it a “fundamental human right,” as he has done in the past. He said it’s “not healthy” to point a finger at companies like Facebook, and instead, we should be focusing on making the web an “unbelievable place.”
To me, and we feel this very deeply, we think privacy is a fundamental human right. So that is the angle that we look at it. Privacy from an American point of view is one of these key civil liberties that define what it is to be American.
Cook said customers can trust Apple to be “on their side.” “We’re the trusted adviser and company here,” he said, explaining that people are not fully aware of how their data is being used and who has access to it. “I think this needs to be addressed.”
The interviewer asked Cook whether or not he was concerned about machines taking over the world, and he said it’s not something that he worries about. Instead, he is concerned about people becoming more machine-like.
I don’t subscribe to machines the taking over the world. And I don’t worry about that. I worry much more about people thinking like machines then machines thinking like people. I mean forgetting the humanity in things. Forgetting that all of our products should be infused with humanity. Forgetting that we have a broader obligation to society.
Cook said he doesn’t consider himself to be political, and suggested that he would not run for political office.
I’m not political. I’m not sure I would really do well in that environment. I think that I can make the greatest contribution doing what I’m doing. […] I love getting things done and I don’t love the political machine in the background. I love Apple, it is the privilege of a lifetime to be leading this company at this time.
He also said that he believes Steve Jobs would support Apple’s current trajectory when asked how Jobs would feel “about this moment in time.”
In terms of the broader issue of humanity, that was his philosophy. That is the DNA of this company. Apple should always be trying to change the world, and change means make it better. That is the thing that we get up in the morning and focus on doing. And I don’t see that changing. That is the north star that keeps us going.
Several snippets of Cook’s full interview, which cover topics like DATA, immigration, tariffs, and more, are available over on CNN and are well worth checking out for those who want to see everything Cook had to say this evening.
Cook also did a separate interview with NPR, which covered topics like privacy, rumors that Apple had access to Facebook users’ personal information, the new Screen Time feature, and the Trump administration.
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