Tim Cook talks privacy, Alex Jones and China in new interview

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tim cook
Tim Cook says companies don't need access to your data.
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook went on the offensive toward competing companies like Amazon and Google in a new interview tonight on privacy.

Appearing on Vice News Tonight on HBO, the Apple CEO was asked if his company’s stance on privacy is stopping Siri from becoming more competitive with Alexa. Cook pushed back saying any company that says it needs all your data to make its service better is telling you a “bunch of bunk.”

Privacy in China

Some users have feared that Apple is making it easier for the Chinese government to access data. However, as Apple pointed out in its recent appearance at the U.S. Senate, the company is baking privacy into the device itself so there’s not a server farm somewhere with access to everyone’s data.

“It’s not easy for anybody to get it,” said Cook. “I mean it’s encrypted like it is everywhere. And so no, I wouldn’t get caught up in the, ‘Where’s the location of it?’ I mean, we have servers located in many different countries in the world. They are not easier to get data from being in one country versus the next.”

Cook on Alex Jones ban

Apple was the first major tech company to block conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its platforms. At the time, Apple said Jones’ podcast was an example of hate speech. Facebook and Twitter quickly followed Apple’s lead, even though Cook claims he never had a conversation with anyone at those companies about the situation.

Cook said Apple wasn’t taking a political stand but that the incident points to the need for a curated platform.

“We think that what the user wants is someone that does review these apps, someone that does review the podcasts, someone that on like Apple News, where a human is selecting the top stories. And that’s what we do,” Cook told Vice. “We don’t take a political stand. We’re not leaning one way or the other. You can tell that from the stuff on the App Store and in podcasts, etc. You’ll see everything from very conservative to very liberal. And that’s the way I think it should be.”