Tags: NSA/Surveillance | Tim Cook | Apple | Privacy | security | data | rand paul

Apple's Tim Cook: We Have Fundamental Right to Privacy

Image: Apple's Tim Cook: We Have Fundamental Right to Privacy
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By    |   Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 11:33 AM

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul may have an ally in Apple CEO Tim Cook who gave an impassioned speech at an event hosted by the privacy group EPIC defending Americans' right to privacy, security, and keeping encrypted data from the government.

"Like many of you, we at Apple reject the idea that our customers should have to make tradeoffs between privacy and security. We can, and we must, provide both in equal measure," Cook said in his speech Tuesday night for EPIC's Champion of Freedom event in Washington, where he was honored for "corporate leadership," Tech Crunch is reporting.

"We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy. The American people demand it, the Constitution demands it, morality demands it," the Apple CEO said.

Cook took shots at fellow Silicon Valley tech companies for using customer data they collect for advertising purposes.

"I'm speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information," Cook told the group.

"They're gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that's wrong. And it's not the kind of company that Apple wants to be," he said.

By comparison, Cook said that Apple "doesn't want your data."

"We don't think you should ever have to trade it for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost," he explained.

"This is especially true now that we're storing data about our health, our finances and our homes on our devices," Cook said.

"We believe the customer should be in control of their own information. You might like these so-called free services, but we don't think they're worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data mined and sold off for God knows what advertising purpose," the Apple CEO said.

"And we think some day, customers will see this for what it is," he added.

These comments are similar to statements Cook made in February when talking about Apple Pay, when he said, "You are not our product. That is our product ... there's no reason why anyone, or us, that we need to know where you're buying something," Business Insider reported.

The Apple CEO also addressed the issue of encryption and the importance to keep lawmakers from forcing Apple and other tech companies from letting the government have a "master key," which would allow the federal government unbridled access to consumer devices and information.

"There's another attack on our civil liberties that we see heating up every day — it's the battle over encryption. Some in Washington are hoping to undermine the ability of ordinary citizens to encrypt their data," Cook told the EPIC crowd.

"We think this is incredibly dangerous. We've been offering encryption tools in our products for years, and we're going to stay on that path," he said.

"We think it's a critical feature for our customers who want to keep their data secure. For years we've offered encryption services like iMessage and FaceTime because we believe the contents of your text messages and your video chats is none of our business," Cook said.

He said that one problem with letting the government having a "master key" is that "if you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too."

"Criminals are using every technology tool at their disposal to hack into people's accounts. If they know there's a key hidden somewhere, they won't stop until they find it," Cook told EPIC.

"Weakening encryption, or taking it away, harms good people that are using it for the right reasons. And ultimately, I believe it has a chilling effect on our First Amendment rights and undermines our country's founding principles," he added.

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul may have an ally in Apple CEO Tim Cook who gave an impassioned speech at an event hosted by the privacy group EPIC defending Americans' right to privacy, security, and keeping encrypted data from the government.
Tim Cook, Apple, Privacy, security, data, rand paul
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2015-33-04
Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 11:33 AM
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