In context: Apple has always been a pretty big proponent of user privacy, and that’s often reflected in its products and business practices. The company has notoriously refused to unlock the smartphones of alleged criminals in the past — even in very high-profile cases — due to privacy concerns, and you’ll find a plethora of data settings within most of the tech giant’s devices.
This focus on privacy has been ingrained into the tech behemoth for a while now, and it seems to start at the top. Apple CEO Tim Cook has gone so far as to publicly argue in favor of strong privacy regulations in the past, and he continued to do so during a recent interview with ABC News.
“I think the government needs to regulate this area,” Cook said, referring to the tech industry’s rampant data collection. “I am 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-policed, that it’s time to have rigorous regulation, and I think we’ve passed that time.”
“I think we all have to admit that when you’ve tried to do something and companies haven’t self-policed, that it’s time to have rigorous regulation, and I think we’ve passed that time.”
Earlier in the same interview, Cook noted that “people should be skeptical” of large companies, going on to advise users to carefully inspect tech firms (and, presumably, their data collection practices) before they decide to do business with them.
Of course, he didn’t waste the opportunity to make Apple look good at the same time. “Privacy, in particular, is one of the top issues of this century,” he said. “We don’t want to know all the details about your life… We want your information held on your device, so it’s between you and your phone, not you and Apple.”
Cook accurately states that this is a “very different” kind of approach than the one most other tech companies opt for, but that business model seems to have worked for Apple thus far.
This isn’t the first time Cook has called for more stringent regulations in the tech industry. “Technology needs to be regulated,” he said back in April. “There are now too many examples where the no rails have resulted in a (sic) great damage to society. We are advocating strongly for regulation – I do not see another path at this point.”
It remains to be seen whether or not politicians will heed Cook’s input.