In what was widely perceived as a(nother) swipe at Facebook, and its customer data security problems with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cook boasted that (because of a standard he said co-founder Steve Jobs established) Apple infallibly protects its customers’ privacy, unlike other companies who collect their data in order to monetize it.
“We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy,” he said. “So we choose a different path: Collecting as little of your data as possible. Being thoughtful and respectful when it’s in our care. Because we know it belongs to you.
“In every way, at every turn, the question we ask ourselves is not ‘what can we do’ but ‘what should we do.’”
Of course he did not mention Apple’s operations – especially with regard to cloud storage services – in China, because that would be a bad look for the alleged champion of “free expression” (as recognized by the Newseum). While Cook took a bow for protecting (apparently American) customers’ privacy, he threw his Chinese customers under the bus.
How? Basically Apple ceded control of data collected by removing all major Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps, which the Chinese government banned, from the App Store there. As TechCrunch reported last year, the “purge is hugely impactful because VPNs represent the only way that a China-based individual can bypass state censorship controls to access the internet without restrictions.”
Thus, Cook only believes in being “thoughtful and respectful” with data that “belongs to you,” so long as you aren’t in China. And the New York Times reported that repressive governments, including Russia’s, are copying the practice.
More troubling, as NLPC’s Peter Flaherty explained in The Daily Caller in March, Apple consigned the hosting of its iCloud data center in China to state-owned Guizhou-Cloud Big Data. Sounds like another “right to privacy” trade-away that he forgot to mention at Duke, as was also criticism of Apple by human rights group Amnesty International.
The reason why Cook is so devoted to China and willing to compromise his “principles” is obvious: Apple’s most recent quarterly earnings from the communist country showed $13 billion in revenue ($18 billion the quarter before that), an increase of 21 percent from the same period last year, according to Fox News. And much of the company’s assembly is done by low-cost Chinese manufacturer FoxConn, which has come under fire in the past for mistreatment of its laborers.
Indeed Cook was so concerned about his Far East cash cow that he met with President Trump at the White House last month, to express his concerns about a 25-percent tariff on at least $50 billion in products from China, which is intended to restore some balance in trade between the nations.
Cook also pleaded with the president to work with Congress to find a solution to undocumented immigrants who were mostly brought to the U.S. as children, known as “Dreamers.” But rather than recognize the president and Republican lawmakers have had a deal available to Democrats for months to solve the problem in exchange for border security, Cook demagogued the issue at Duke, calling upon students to be “inspired” by those who are “fearless” in fighting for the progressive agenda.
“Fearless like those who fight for the rights of immigrants… who understand that our only hopeful future is one that embraces all who want to contribute,” urged Cook, who has consistently advocated for an open borders policy.
He also held up for admiration the victims of the high school mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., who have “rallied millions to their cause” of opposition to the Second Amendment.
And it wouldn’t be a complete Cook talk without his usual fact-free claims about the climate.
“We reject the notion that global warming is inevitable,” he said. “That’s why we run Apple on 100-percent renewable energy.”
That assertion has been debunked over and over by NLPC and others, as Apple and other tech giants draw enormous amounts of power from the utilities’ electrical grid that is 86 percent powered by coal, natural gas and nuclear.
Cook wasn’t the only tech CEO preening on a commencement stage last weekend for his leftist stances on social justice. PayPal’s Dan Schulman told Rutgers graduates how proud he was to cancel plans to expand operations in North Carolina a couple of years ago, because of the state’s law at the time (since altered) that required individuals to follow biological gender norms and privacy in public restrooms, while respecting businesses’ decisions with regard to their restroom policies. Instead he believed North Carolinians should be forced to allow individuals to use such facilities according to whatever sex they “identified” with.
“Discrimination of any kind hurts all of us – and is a threat to our very democracy,” Schulman said. “The ultimate point here is that whether you are a business person, a scholar, an artist, an activist or a doctor, we have to be guided by values of inclusion and freedom. These are not political decisions, these are values-based decisions.”