Tim Cook recently sat down for a chat with NPR's Robert Siegel on its All Things Considered program, where the two discussed the importance of consumer privacy, the NSA, and more. Here are some of the highlights.
On the subject of government requests for customer text messages, Cook notes that while Apple complies with government requests that have gone through the correct legal process, the company has made great strides to keep users in control of their data:
However, we design our products in such a way that privacy is designed into the product. And security is designed in. And so if you think about it … some of our most personal data is on the phone: our financial data, our health information, our conversations with our friends and family and coworkers. And so instead of us taking that data into Apple, we've kept data on the phone and it's encrypted by you. You control it.
When asked about calls for a so-called "back door" for government agencies, Cook was firm in his stance that such a loophole would ultimately be used for ill as well:
I don't think you will hear the [National Security Agency] asking for a back door. … There have been different conversations with the FBI, I think, over time. … But my own view is everyone's coming around to some core tenets. And those core tenets are that encryption is a must in today's world.
And I think everybody's coming around also to recognizing that any back door means a back door for bad guys as well as good guys. And so a back door is a nonstarter. It means we are all not safe. … I don't support a back door for any government, ever.
Cook and Siegel also touched on what Apple does with consumer information from its various apps, with Apple's position presenting stark contrast to the way other companies have used such information:
But what they don't want to do, they don't want your email to be read, and then to pick up on keywords in your email and then to use that information to then market you things on a different application that you're using.
Overall, the whole interview is a great listen, especially if you take privacy seriously and want a deeper look into how Apple is working to safeguard that privacy. For more, be sure to check out the interview embedded below.