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Apple CEO: "Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty"

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Wednesday that if his company wanted to, they could make a ton of money by monetizing their customers and making them a product. But he said unlike other companies (like Facebook), Apple has elected not to do that.

Quote"We're not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty."
— Tim Cook in an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher

The bottom line, from Axios' Ina Fried: Apple is trying to distance itself from its tech peers with its privacy stance, something made easier by the fact it makes its money from selling hardware (and to a lesser degree software and services) rather than from advertising.

In the same interview, Recode's Kara Swisher asked Cook that, if he were Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg — who's facing mounting pressure in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal — what would he do? Cook replied:

"What would I do? I wouldn’t be in this situation... We don't want porn on our App Store. We don't want hate speech on our App Store. We don't want the ability to recruit terrorists on our App Store."

Worth noting: Apple has been making this privacy argument for a while, and Cook and Zuckerberg have a history of trading barbs.