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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook speaks about the NRA, protecting privacy and education

by on 7th April 2018

In the “Revolution: Apple Changing the World” interview with MSNBC and Recode, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, stated Apple will “continue to monitor” the NRATV app and “if it walks into the path of hate speech or some of these other things then we’re cutting it off”.

Cook’s statement was in response to a question by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes about Apple’s position on streaming NRATV.  Cook also stated he believes free speech “has to have as wide a definition as possible” and he thinks “it’s actually important for the public to hear [NRATV’s point of view]”.

The interview focused on a range of topics from education and privacy to Amazon’s new HQ and Apple’s business model.

In response to questions on education, Cook stated “it’s no longer sufficient to go to school for 12 years and maybe some more in college and then call it quits for a lifetime” and “I do think that we all have to get used to the idea of continually learning, refreshing our skills for the jobs of tomorrow”.

He also emphasized how half a million jobs aren’t being filled in the software sector and how that number is likely to increase to 2 million over the next three or four years.

On the topic of manufacturing, he was keen to highlight how many of the components which make up an iPhone are manufactured in the United States.

“The glass is from Kentucky, their mini chips – silicon chips – that are all made from all over the United States. There’s equipment that goes into manufacturing that’s all over the U.S. The very sophisticated face I.D. module on the iPhone X will be made in the United States,” he said.

On Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Cook stated “Look, we – we’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people – that has incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources – should exist”.

When prompted for a response to what he would do if he was in Mark Zuckerberg’s situation, Cook stated “I wouldn’t be in this situation”.

On how Apple “polices” third-party apps, Cook was keen to emphasize how Apple scrutinizes the content published through its platforms.

“We’re looking at every app in detail, what is it doing, is it doing what it’s saying it’s doing is it meeting the privacy policy that they’re stating…we don’t subscribe to the view that you have to let everybody in that wants to or if you don’t, you don’t believe in free speech,” he said.

In February, Apple temporarily removed the encrypted messaging app Telegram from its App Store, owed to it facilitating “inappropriate content”. The app was also criticized by British Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this year.

The app was quickly restored to the App Store when appropriate protections were put in place.

Cook also offered advice on how users can best protect their privacy online. “I would make sure I understood the privacy policy of every app and website that you frequent…I would also…go into private browsing mode [and] I would think about blocking cookies”.

In its iOS 11 update, Apple removed the ability to login to popular social networks – a single sign-on – from its settings menu (this feature had previously made it easier to share social data between apps).

It also attracted publicity when it unveiled intelligent tracking prevention, another feature of iOS 11, which sought to eliminate cross-site tracking of users on Apple devices.

During the interview, Cook also emphasized that “Silicon Valley is not monolithic”. He referred to the process of adverts “chasing” him across the web as “creepy”.

He was also keen to emphasize the distinction between Apple’s business and those of other Silicon Valley organization, notably that, for Apple, the consumer isn’t the product.

“Our products are iPhones and iPads and Macs and HomePods and the Watch, et cetera, and if we can convince you to buy one, we’ll make a little bit of money, right? But you are not our product,” he said.

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