Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed recently that he and his company do not engage in the dirty business of “politics” but only “policy.” He is supposedly above it all, guided instead by doing “what’s right.”
Cook acknowledges that some may not like his “policy” decisions, but that he thinks they admire Apple’s leadership for sticking to their principles. He added that the company only weighs in where it has a “legitimate position or lens on the issue,” like climate change, education, immigration, and transgender restroom policies.
“I think people appreciate that, even when they do disagree,” he said, explaining his beliefs about the role of business in public issues. “We do them out of believing deeply that they’re right and we do have a unique lens. We focus on the policy, not the politics.”
National Legal and Policy Center has submitted a shareholder proposal asking Apple Inc. to made a report on human rights, and specifically, free speech. The 2019 Apple annual meeting will take place in Cupertino, California in early 2019. Here is the text of the proposal and supporting statement:
Whereas, the Securities and Exchange Commission has consistently recognized that human rights constitute a significant policy issue.
Freedom of speech and association are fundamental human rights.
The Company operates in nations with systematic human rights abuses. The Company has abetted certain governments and non-governmental organizations in suppressing freedom of speech and association.
For example, our CEO in March 2018 co-chaired the so-called China Development Forum, sponsored by the Communist Chinese government. In December 2017, our CEO keynoted the World Internet Conference, another Chinese government event.
Of course the major technology companies based in Silicon Valley – who almost unanimously have advocated for open borders policies that come with unlimited visas for the foreign workers they want to employ – have joined the chorus.
Apple CEO Tim Cook reacted, while in Dublin, to the widespread pictures of immigrant children housed in facilities away from their detained parents.
Apple again has taken a step it says will strengthen privacy for its millions of product users, but the heightened encryption measure has drawn criticism from law enforcement who want the ability to “crack” phones of suspects in search of information during criminal investigations.
And once again a decision by the company has called attention to the inconsistencies of its policies in free countries, as opposed to China.
The measure, announced Wednesday, would alter the settings on the iPhone to severely curb the ability of police to communicate with the devices via external “hacking” instruments. Previously law enforcement could connect and access the iPhones’ data in an unlimited fashion in search of accessibility passwords. Under the new update, the phones will lock out all attempts at access after an hour.
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.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has received accolades for free speech advocacy by respected institutions such as the Newseum, but the company is being called on the carpet for consigning its data storage services – especially crucial encrypted access keys – to a bunch of communists.
Amnesty International announced Thursday it would initiate a social media campaign against Apple, because the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant caved to the Chinese government and agreed to allow its customers’ data to be housed on servers there.
The effort coincides with a visit by Cook to the China Development Forum, where he is co-chairing an event sponsored by the government in which business leaders meet with public officials in an effort to improve relations.
It also follows only a month after Reuters reported that Apple agreed to store encrypted keys used to access customers’ (or, users’) data storage accounts (such as iCloud).
The category for which Cook was honored was “Free Speech.” The awarding institution, founded mostly by a bunch of left-leaning legacy media organizations, said he earned the distinction “for his leadership in creating technology that has had a profound impact on how we communicate,” and for his “public stand on major societal issues, including racial equality, privacy, protecting the environment, access to education and LGBT rights.”