Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with TIME’s Nancy Gibbs and Lev Grossman on March 10 to discuss his company’s rapidly escalating fight with the FBI over encryption. That is the subject of the magazine’s March 28 cover story.
Below is a portion of the Tim Cook interview. A link to the entire transcript is here.
What do you think it says about the changed information environment in which we live? What you alluded to earlier, just the vast clouds of data which we now generate by virtue of going about our daily business. We’re just sort of spewing out gigabytes of data, everything we do, to the point where privacy, it changes what privacy means. Now privacy becomes, rather than the default setting of the world that we live in, not it becomes a feature that we have to buy and shop for and rely on. Is that a change you’ve observed over the course of your career?
COOK: I think your observation that there’s this increasing amounts of data is absolutely true. It wasn’t very long ago, you wouldn’t even think about there being health information on the smart phone. But today there’s a lot of health information available on your smart phone.
There’s financial information. There’s your conversations, there’s business secrets. There’s an enormous long list of things that there’s probably more information about you on here than exists in your home, right. Which makes it a lot more valuable to all the bad guys out there.
That’s a reality. That data is increasing in phenomenal leaps and bounds all the time, along with the sort of the hacking and cyber issues are going up at the same time. So these two curves are pointed in the same direction.
Partly, and no surprise, because there’s so much more information out there. It’s clear why hacking communities are [growing]. Because it’s like, there’s a lot more gold there. There’s a lot more to steal than ever before.
There’s unbelievably nefarious things happening out there. I think those two curves are connected, are very strongly correlated with each other. I think that [there is] this fundamental right to privacy and the philosophy that government shouldn’t be intrusive.
To me, that is the same. I don’t think because this is escalating that that should fundamentally be different. Now do people, do different companies etc. look at privacy different? Yes, they clearly do.
And that’s the reason all of us have privacy policies and some you can actually read and you can look at these things and judge for yourself where you see it. But I think the fundamental right that’s there is a constitutional right.
I mean this is something that is basic to who we are. It’s not something that floats with technology.
The threat of hacking is real. People have a right to privacy. That is the cyber issue.
We are all part of the social network that’s connected. Could it be that our privacy is collectively at risk?