While Cook didn’t mention Facebook by name, his comments appeared to reference the social media giant’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, during which the firm improperly gained access to data from 87 million user profiles.
“We reject the notion that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy, so we choose a different path: collecting as little of your data as possible, and being thoughtful and respectful when it’s in our care. Because we know it belongs to you,” Cook said in his address, according to CNBC.
This isn’t the first time Cook has addressed the Facebook scandal. When asked in March how he would handle the situation if he was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he said he “wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Cook has also called data privacy a human right and a civil liberty, and called for tougher privacy laws.
“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” he said back in March. “The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life – from my own point of view, it shouldn’t exist.”
Aside from his comments on data privacy, Cook also commended the anti-sexual harassment movement, telling graduates to be fearless like the women of “Me Too.” He also applauded the survivors of the Parkland school shooting, as well as the defenders of immigrant rights.
“It’s in those truly trying moments that the fearless inspire us,” Cook said. “Fearless like the students of Parkland, Florida, who refused to be silent about the epidemic of gun violence [and] have rallied millions to their cause. Fearless like the women who say ‘me too’ and ‘time’s up.’ Women who pass light into dark places and move us into a just and equal [workplace].”
Cook received his Master of Business Administration from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1988, and joined the university’s board of trustees in 2015.