Edward Snowden: Consumers Should Support Apple to Incentivize Privacy

Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Edward Snowden said on Wednesday that customers should support Apple's stance on privacy, whether or no CEO Tim Cook is being sincere about that stance. Speaking via a video conference during the Challenge.rs conference in Barcelona, Mr. Snowden said that companies like Apple that don't trade on our private data should be incentivized to do so.

Edward Snowden rose to prominence as an advocate for privacy by exposing the mass surveillance program being conducted by the U.S. National Intelligence Agency. Some consider him a traitor for releasing that information—and much more classified information besides—but many interested in privacy and security consider him a hero, giving him a platform to speak on the topic.

Thursday's comments came via John Constantine, who spoke with Mr. Snowden through the video conference and wrote about it for TechCrunch. He asked Mr. Snowden if he thought Tim Cook was sincere in his commitment to privacy, and the former CIA analyst said:

I think in the current situation, it doesn’t matter if he’s being honest or dishonest. What really matters is that he’s obviously got a commercial incentive to differentiate himself from competitors like Google. But if he does that, if he directs Apple’s business model to be different, to say 'we’re not in the business of collecting and selling information. We’re in the business of creating and selling devices that are superior”, then that’s a good thing for privacy. That’s a good thing for customers.

He went to add that consumers should support companies who align themselves with their customers, who don't trade on personal data, which is what Google, Facebook, and many other Silicon Valley giants do.

"Regardless of whether [Apple's position is] honest or dishonest," Mr. Snowden said, "for the moment, now, that’s something we should support, that’s something we should incentivize, and it’s actually something we should emulate."

There's more in the full article at TechCrunch.