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Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls Privacy a ‘Bedrock’ Human Right

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Apple CEO Tim Cook recently went on the New York Times‘ “Sway” podcast with Kara Swisher where he spoke on a number of topics including privacy and its importance in the 21st century.

Cook reiterated his dedication to maintaining individual privacy in an age where data is king:

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Generally speaking, I think privacy is one of the top issues of the 21st century. And I think we’re in a crisis.

Swisher brought up a speech Cook made in February 2021 where he said: “If we accept as normal that everything in our lives can be aggregated and sold, we lose so much more than data. We lose the freedom to be human.” The interviewer asked Cook to clarify what he meant by this comment:

If you think about a surveillance world, a world where you know that somebody is always watching everything you’re doing. And in the case of a phone or a computer, it’s also what you’re thinking. Because you’re typing in searches and so on and so forth. I think in that kind of world, you begin to do less. You begin to think less. Your freedom of expression begins to narrow and the walls move in on you. I start thinking about that at its natural endpoint, and I don’t want to be a part of that society.

As Cook has maintained that privacy is one of the benchmarks of the Apple ecosystem, Swisher asked him to explain why it’s become such an important issue for the Cupertino company:

It’s not about being a brand attribute, to be very frank. For us, privacy is a basic human right. It’s a right that other rights are built off of. It’s that kind of core. It’s bedrock. And it’s not just something I decided a few years ago. As I remember, Steve commented on this with you over a decade ago.

You can listen to the entire interview on the Sway podcast.

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