Aug 7, 2018

Apple CEO Tim Cook Discusses Apple Music, As The Company Says "The Customer Is Not Our Product' On Privacy Topic

Fast Company published an article about Spotify founder Daniel Ek, writers Bob Safian and Daniel Ek discuss the topic of music distribution and organization. To express a different point of view, Safian also visited Tim Cook, who talked about his views on Apple Music.

Cook says Apple Music recommends music to users manually, while Spotify relies largely on algorithms. Although Cook did not mention Spotify's name directly in the interview, he obviously named the two different ideas of the two companies:

Cook's words embody Apple's longstanding critique of Spotify, which is that its algorithms are eroding music's spiritual role in our lives. Cook doesn't mention Spotify by name but says, "We worry about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft."


Last month, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce issued an open letter to Apple and Google's parent company Alphabet, that is divided into 16 sections and wants to understand how Apple and Alphabet handle customer data. Today, Apple replied to the letter by reiterating the company's belief that "privacy is the basic right of everyone." (Via MacRumors)

According to Apple, when designing products and services, they minimize the collection of customer data. Timothy Powderly, Apple's director of Federal Government Affairs, responded on behalf of Tim Cook:

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the capabilities of Apple iPhone devices. Not all technology companies operate in the same manner— in fact, the business models and data collection and use practices are often radically different from one another. Apple’s philosophy and approach to customer data differs from many other companies on these important issues.

We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data. When we do collect data, we’re transparent about it and work to disassociate it from the user. We utilize on device processing to minimize data collection by Apple. The customer is not our product, and our business model does not depend on collecting vast amounts of personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers.

Because we strongly believe the customer should control their personal information and the way it’s used, we provide a number of easily accessible resources on our website so that they can make wise choices. Most of your questions are addressed in public-facing documents such as our privacy website, which can be found at www.apple.com/privacy. In addition, we recently answered similar questions from Senator Charles Grassley, and our responses are available online.

Innovation at Apple means designing a new product or service with customer privacy as a key element of design, and not an obligation. We hope that the responses below are helpful in understanding these topics and make clear Apple’s position that customers are entitled to transparency, choice, and control over their personal information. We would be pleased to brief Committee staff at your convenience.

Thoughts?

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