Tim Cook Takes Moral High Ground On Privacy, Casts Stones At Facebook And Google

Apple chief Tim Cook came out swinging during EPIC's Champions of Freedom event in Washington where he was being honored for corporate leadership. His remotely beamed acceptance speech talked about privacy and security, and without calling out other big tech firms by name, he took shots at companies and competitors like Facebook and Google.

"I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information," said Cook. "They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be."

Tim Cook

Both Facebook and Google collect a ton of revenue through targeted advertising to users based on the data they collect. While lucrative for them, free services often means that the user is the product. Speaking to the point, Cook added that users should never have to trade their privacy and personal data "for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost."

The timing of Cook's statement about free services coming at a "very high cost" comes on the heels of Google announcing free and unlimited storage for photos (up to 16 megapixels) and videos (up to 1080p). There's a cost there, and it comes in the form of allowing Google to mine your metadeta.

Cook also waxed angrily on the topic of encryption.

"There’s another attack on our civil liberties that we see heating up every day — it’s the battle over encryption. Some in Washington are hoping to undermine the ability of ordinary citizens to encrypt their data," said Cook.

The fired up CEO said Apple's been offering encryption for several years and will continue to do so, adding that it's a "critical feature" despite the concerns of government officials who want backdoor access to devices. He likened backdoor access to putting a key under the mat for cops, noting that if you do so, burglars can find it too.