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."

timcookcnninterview
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 DACA, 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.

Top Rated Comments

macduke Avatar
41 months ago
I like Tim Cook both as a CEO and person and I don’t care what anyone at MacRumors has to say about it. He’s not perfect but has good principles and is smarter than most anyone here.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
i75.bjc Avatar
41 months ago
"I'm not political.", said Tim Cook.
How can this be since this TC is the most political CEO that Apple has ever had. He sticks his nose into all the "important" political issues.
I miss Steve Jobs.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trifid Avatar
41 months ago
Give credit where credit is due, thank you for defending privacy, the new Safari features prove it's not just words. Thank you Tim.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
41 months ago
Perhaps, but getting paid $1B/year+ to do it while preaching about protecting your users' privacy is the height of hypocrisy.
Something tells me you don’t know what hypocrisy means.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lu0s3r322 Avatar
41 months ago
I don't see Tim Cook as a political person. Maybe relative to Jobs but I'd rather have Cook's advocacy than Jobs'. Things that he's spoken out about are largely about values important to Apple and things that I think most people agree about. Climate change, DACA, privacy, gay rights, etc. I'd rather have someone of his importance defending these important issues than ignoring them. I agree that he would not do well in the political arena though, I think that's more of what he's saying.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
goobot Avatar
41 months ago
Says the guy who negotiated a secret deal to have Google pay Apple over $1B per year to make Google the default search engine on Safari on iOS. Apple may not be invading our privacy but they sure don't mind being enriched by letting other companies do it for them.
Let’s be realistic tho. 99% of people probably would make google their default anyway and it’s not like you can’t change it.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 4: Safari Tweaks, MagSafe Battery Pack Support, Notification Updates and More

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:47 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, introducing additional refinements to the new features that are coming in the software updates. In these betas, Apple has introduced changes for Safari, Notifications, Focus mode, and more. Safari Updates Apple is continuing to refine the design of Safari on the iPhone, and in iOS 15, there are tweaks to improve usability. ...
new m1 chip

Tim Cook on Apple Deciding to Manufacture Components: 'We Ask Ourselves If We Can Do Something Better'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 3:04 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how Apple decides what components to purchase and what components to develop, and Cook said that Apple asks if it can be done better. We ask ourselves if we can do something better. If we can deliver a better product. If we can buy something in the market and it's great...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...