Apple's Cook Takes Aim at Google in His Speech on Privacy and Encryption

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Apple's Cook Takes Aim at Google in His Speech on Privacy and Encryption

Tim Cook is not afraid of taking aim at Google and the Apple CEO was at it again on Monday.

Cook was being honoured for "corporate leadership" at an event organised by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington where he gave a 'blistering' remote speech on encryption and privacy, with Google products and services never too far from his mind.

"Like many of you, we at Apple reject the idea that our customers should have to make tradeoffs between privacy and security," Techcrunch quotes Cook as saying. "We can, and we must provide both in equal measure. We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy. The American people demand it, the constitution demands it, morality demands it."

Cook went on to address companies like Google and Facebook a little bit more directly.

"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," Cook added. "They're gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that's wrong. And it's not the kind of company that Apple wants to be."

Cook went on to criticise companies that mine customer data, throwing in a not so subtle reference at the recently launched Google Photos service.

"We believe the customer should be in control of their own information. You might like these so-called free services, but we don't think they're worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data mined and sold off for god knows what advertising purpose. And we think some day, customers will see this for what it is."

(Also see:  Google Photos With Free, Unlimited Storage: 10 Things You Need to Know)

The Apple CEO next spoke on the subject of encryption, which has been a hot topic in Washington recently. The FBI director has spoken against efforts by Google, Apple, and others to add encryption to their services, and Cook believes any efforts to thwart encryption would be detrimental to consumers' interests.

"Removing encryption tools from our products altogether, as some in Washington would like us to do, would only hurt law-abiding citizens who rely on us to protect their data. The bad guys will still encrypt; it's easy to do and readily available."


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