Apple CEO Tim Cook made the case for privacy as a selling point at Apple during a video interview with NBC Wednesday night. And he did so by redirecting a question about the grilling Facebook, Google, and Twitter are getting for allowing (and profiting from) the Russian government’s efforts to disrupt our democracy.
Apple and Privacy
NBC’s Lester Holt: “Do you think Silicon Valley has gotten a bad reputation, certainly in Washington?”
Tim Cook: Just like all New York companies aren’t the same, and all media companies aren’t the same, all technology companies aren’t the same, either. They have different values, different principles, different business models.”
Through a voice-over, Mr. Holt then said some companies collect and sell information about their customers, and that Apple rejects that model.
Mr. Cook: “[That’s] something that we don’t do, because you are not our product. We take a very pro-privacy view. Apple doesn’t know what the content of your Messages are. We encrypt FaceTime end-to-end. We don’t know what you’re saying. And we think that’s the way people would expect.”
To be fair, I think it’s more accurate to say, “That’s what Apple customers expect.” A recent survey found that more people trust Google—a company that sells you—than Apple—the only major tech company with a privacy-centric business model.
That is cognitive dissonance in action.
And that may be why Mr. Cook was speaking about this to NBC. Apple has done very little to make its stance on privacy the selling point Mr. Cook sometimes says he thinks it will be.
Tim Cook on Taxes
Mr. Cook also spoke on the subject of corporate taxes, where he made the case for reform. In particular, he argued it’s important for the United States to change tax laws that encourage Apple and other multinationals to keep money earned outside the U.S. offshore.