Seven years into his tenure as Apple CEO, Tim Cook remains a popular guy, especially in an Apple store in New York, where he recently waded through a sea of adoring Apple fans pleading for selfies before he sat down with VICE News Tonight for an interview.
This is partly because Cook’s competitors in Silicon Valley have set a low bar. Already under fire for being a tool for voter suppression and misinformation during the 2016 election, Facebook announced Friday that it had discovered the largest security breach in the company’s history, affecting 50 million users.
Cook said that kind of data breach won’t happen at Apple, because the personal data Apple collects stays locked on iPhones, and even Apple can’t access it. “We’re not in the business of building the detailed profile of you,” Cook said. “The way we go into product design, we challenge ourselves to collect as little as possible. And when we have it, we challenge ourselves to encrypt it in the end.”
That has come at a cost to Apple’s business. Apple Music, for example, could build detailed profiles of users and sell that to advertisers, as competitors Spotify, Pandora, and Google Music do. But Cook considers that an affront to the basic promise of the Apple brand. “We don’t read your messages,” he said. “These things, even in our heads, are offensive, right? To think about, these are private communications and intimate conversations that you are having. And so we wouldn’t even think about that.”
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