Apple's CEO Tim Cook has delivered a powerful speech against the big companies in Silicon Valley that are selling your data.
Speaking at the Electronic Privacy Information Centre 'Champions of Freedom' event, the tech CEO spoke passionately about how he (and Apple) believe that customers will start to see through the companies that use your data for profit.
“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.”
The speech was obviously non-specific but it wasn't hard to work out that Cook was referring to large rivals Google and Facebook, both of whom use advertising that's targeted using information gathered about the user.
While that first reference seemed clearly aimed at Google's new Photos App, Cook went on to evaluate the industry as a whole, arguing that privacy should never come at a cost.
“Like many of you, we at Apple reject the idea that our customers should have to make tradeoffs between privacy and security, 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 continues, “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,”
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.”
Cook changed tack after that moving his attention to the US Government's attempts to prevent Apple encrypting its data.
Cook said, “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,"
“We think this is incredibly dangerous. We’ve been offering encryption tools in our products for years, and we’re going to stay on that path." Cook continues, "For years we’ve offered encryption services like iMessage and FaceTime because we believe the contents of your text messages and your video chats is none of our business.”
The last major data-based announcement Apple made was ResearchKit which gives users the chance to voluntarily offer their health data to medical research. Apple confirmed that the data is anonymous and entirely under your control at all times.
Another example Cook referred to is Apple Pay. By using Touch ID as the activation method, all the biometric information is securely locked inside a separate part of the smartphone, no app, not even Apple can access your fingerprint. This idea is then applied to Apple Pay.
At no point does Apple or your phone actually store your card information, it's all done through a system called 'tokenisation'.
It's so effective in fact that when Apple Pay came under attack for potentially being the a catalyst for fraud it became quickly clear that Apple's system wasn't to blame, it was actually the banks themselves.