Cook was in D.C. to receive a Champions of Freedom award from the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Cook took special aim at Google's new Photos service, which, according to TechCrunch, has been assailed by critics who say allow the company to analyze images of family life in order to optimize its advertising:Apple's pugnacious defense of its customers' right to encrypt their data, via TechCrunch:
“We don’t think you should ever have to trade it [privacy] for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost. This is especially true now that we’re storing data about our health, our finances and our homes on our devices.”
“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,” Cook said. “We think some day, customers will see this for what it is.”
By many accounts, Photos is a fantastic product, but even early on people have begun to point out the obvious tradeoff that you’re making when you sign up...
Cook then switched gears to talk about encryption — directly addressing the efforts by policy makers to force Apple to offer a ‘master key’ that would allow government agencies access to consumer devices.
“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,” said Cook.
“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. We think it’s a critical feature for our customers who want to keep their data secure. 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 U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been waging a war on “pervasive encryption,” painting it as an enabler of terrorism. Every security researcher and logical human being on the planet understands that this is ridiculous. And Cook is one of them.
“If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too. Criminals are using every technology tool at their disposal to hack into people’s accounts. If they know there’s a key hidden somewhere, they won’t stop until they find it,” Cook continued.“Removing encryption tools from our products altogether, as some in Washington would like us to do, would only hurt law-abiding citizens who rely on us to protect their data. The bad guys will still encrypt; it’s easy to do and readily available.”