Apple is playing up its commitment to user privacy. In a new interview with NPR, CEO Tim Cook called it “a fundamental human right.”
Much of the discussion revolved around government intrusion, but user security was also a focus. Asked about government requests for user data, Cook emphasized Apple products’ use of on-device encryption, which prevents it from being accessed by hackers, government agents, and even Apple itself.
“We’ve kept data on the phone and it’s encrypted by you,” he said. Cook later added that usage data is not shared between apps, further protecting users’ privacy.
Cook also firmly rejected the idea of “back door” access on devices, asserting that “if you have an open door in your software for the good guys, the bad guys get in there, too.” He pointed to the OPM hacking scandal as an example of the risks involved in providing any access point for sensitive data, concluding that “a back door is a nonstarter.”
The heavy emphasis on user privacy – and security – comes at a crucial time. With mPayment platforms such as Apple Pay on the rise, even more sensitive user data is being stored and transmitted on smartphones. Meanwhile, the Internet of Things poses a whole new set of concerns by bring various everyday items online. Given that Apple has aspirations in these areas and many others where digital security is in play, its positioning on the privacy issue now could pay off down the line as consumer awareness builds in this area.