CEO Tim Cook “Launches” into Rant on Companies That Collect and Sell Data on Their Customers. Points to Google and Facebook.
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Apple’s CEO may have been talking about how Apple is better at protecting customers’ privacy, but he sure wasn’t private about his feelings toward some competition.
Juxtaposing Apple, which he says only sells products, against internet companies that make their money “collecting [and selling] gobs of personal data” Cook suggested Apple would do a better job of protecting user privacy.
In his piece on venturebeat.com (link to article), Gregory Ferenstein says Cook may have been a bit prickly (our word not Ferenstein’s) about the subject of privacy because of last month’s iCloud hack resulting in nude pix of female celebs circulating all over the internet. And, Ferenstein notes a possible link between that event and Apple Pay, Apple’s new credit card transaction payment system. Ferenstein observed that, “Purchase data is perhaps the most personal data of all, and Cook was out to assure the public that the new system won’t actually keep any data, so it would be impossible for a government agency (or a hacker) to steal it from Apple’s servers.”
So why is Apple better at protecting customer data than, say Google? Maybe Rose and Cook will discuss that in a future interview. Till then, here is Cook’s riff on Apple vs. Google, Facebook, et al. when it comes to money and data:
Our business is not based on having information about you. You’re not our product. Our product are these [points to iPhone], and this watch, and Macs, and so forth. And so we run a very different company.
I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money. And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried. And you should really understand what’s happening to that data, and the companies — I think — should be very transparent.
If you want to use an Apple product, you pay Apple from your own bank account and you’re the customer. But if you’re using products from Google, Facebook and much of the ad-supported information economy, advertisers are the customers — and you’re the product. The more valuable data they can extract from you, the more money their customers (advertisers) will pay.
“I’m offended by lots of it,” said Cook of the way the Information economy operates.
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