- Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed the importance of privacy when speaking at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference on Tuesday.
- It’s a topic that Apple and Cook have been increasingly vocal about in recent years as concerns around digital privacy and user data have escalated.
- Cook said that privacy is a factor that must be present throughout the development process when creating new products – it’s not something you can “bolt-on” after-the-fact.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook once again reiterated his company’s emphasis on privacy when speaking at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference on Tuesday.
In conversation with Salesforce founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff, Cook said that privacy is a factor that must be present throughout the development process when creating new products, rather than being incorporated after-the-fact. His comments come at a time when large tech firms are under increasing scrutiny over how they handle consumer data.
“You don’t bolt-on privacy,” Cook said. “You think about it in the development process of products. You can see what happens when companies wake up one day and decide they’re going to do something privacy-wise. You just can’t do it. You have to design it in.”
Lawmakers have grilled executives from Google and Facebook over concerns about how the companies collect and handle consumer data in recent months. Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared before Congress to answer questions regarding the data Google collects about its users among other topics, such as whether or not Google’s search results are biased.
Facebook has also been in the middle of several privacy blunders in recent years, the most significant being the Cambridge Analytica scandal that was unearthed in 2018. The Guardian and The New York Times both reported last year that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm with ties to the Trump campaign, harvested data from the profiles of tens of millions of Facebook users.
Cook has been increasingly vocal about Apple’s focus on privacy in recent years amid increasing concerns about how large tech firms are handling consumer data. The Apple CEO has said on several occasions that privacy is a fundamental human right, and the company has made privacy the centre of some of its advertisements.
In 2016, Apple rejected the FBI’s demand that the company create a version of its iOS operating system that would allow law enforcement to gain access to the locked phone of a San Bernardino shooting suspect. Cook at the time said the FBI wanted Apple to create “the software equivalent of cancer.” The FBI later backed down.
Cook also discussed Apple’s broader values as a company when speaking with Benioff, saying that “being the best” is its “north star.”
“We’ve never set the objective to be first,” Cook said. “We’ve always set the objective to be the best. We’ve never set it to make the most, but to be the best and to have the best. And that north star has helped guide us through the temptations of going for market share and the other kinds of things that companies can have objectives to do.”
See below for the full video from the first day of Dreamforce. Benioff’s conversation with Cook begins around the 1:40 mark.