Apple CEO Tim Cook Lays Into Google Over Data Mining

By James O Malley on at

Tim Cook says that Apple "doesn't want your data", in a surprisingly passive aggressive attack on rivals Facebook and Google.

Speaking at "EPIC's Champions of Freedom", a civil liberties event in Washington, according to TechCrunch Cook said that "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" and that "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."

If Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg's ears weren't already burning, they certainly were when Cook made spelled out he was talking about Google's new Photo app, which is capable of figuring out the contents of your photos using sophisticated algorithms. For example, if you search your photos for "dog", it will pull up all of the photos you have taken of dogs - without you having needed to have tagged the photo or added any data to tell Google that it is a dog. Cook lamented:

"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."

Later, Cook went on to speak about encryption - coming out strongly in favour of it. He argued that it is important for maintaining freedom of speech:

“Now, we have a deep respect for law enforcement, and we work together with them in many areas, but on this issue we disagree. So let me be crystal clear — weakening encryption, or taking it away, harms good people that are using it for the right reasons. And ultimately, I believe it has a chilling effect on our First Amendment rights and undermines our country’s founding principles.”

It is all very refreshing to hear coming from the CEO of the largest company in the world. In fact, it is almost like he's been reading Gizmodo... [TechCrunch]