Apple CEO: Privacy Must Be First, Not Added Later

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that privacy is something that needs to be a factor throughout a product’s entire development process.

“You don’t bolt-on privacy,” Cook said at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference on Tuesday (Nov, 19). “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.”

Cook has argued that privacy is a fundamental human right. In a speech at Stanford University in June, Cook said tech firms in Silicon Valley have to be responsible for the “chaos” they create, specifically citing privacy violations and data breaches.

“We see it every day now with every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech, fake news poisoning [our] national conversation, the false miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood.” He also noted, “It feels a bit crazy that anyone should have to say this, but if you built a chaos factory, you can’t dodge responsibility for the chaos,” he said.

And in January, Cook called on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a new framework to increase the transparency of companies that handle user data, and allow consumers to monitor where their information is going and remove any data on demand.

At the conference this week, Cook also discussed his company’s values, explaining that “being the best” is its “north star.”

“We’ve never set the objective to be first,” Cook said according to published reports. “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.”


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