Apple Helped U.K. Investigate Terrorist Attacks, CEO Says
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the company has helped U.K. officials investigate terror attacks, while reiterating his dismay over U.S. plans to quit the Paris agreement on climate change.
"We have been cooperating with the U.K. government not only in law enforcement kind of matters but on some of the attacks," Cook said during a Bloomberg Television interview on Monday. "I cannot speak on detail on that. But in cases when we have information and they have gone through the lawful process we don’t just give it but we do it very promptly."
A third attack in the U.K. in less than three months has put more pressure on technology companies to prevent their products and services from being used by violent extremists. Cook didn’t specify which attacks led to the company’s cooperation. Apple’s high privacy standards and tough encryption have been criticized by law enforcement officials and the company clashed last year in court with the FBI over the issue.
Cook said on Monday that Apple’s encryption is misunderstood. "It doesn’t mean no information. Metadata exists and that’s very important for building a profile," he added. "The reality is that cyberattacks on people and governments, these affect your safety and security."
Cook also said he didn’t join any of U.S. President Donald Trump’s business advisory councils because he thinks those groups aren’t "terribly productive."
“It wasn’t about not wanting to advise on something that we thought should be heard,” he added. Cook said he will continue to advise the president on matters that are important to him and the U.S., such as the Paris climate accord. Trump decided last week to pull the U.S. out of the pact.
“He didn’t decide what I wanted him to decide,” Cook said of the president. “He decided wrong. It’s not in the best interest of the United States what he decided.”
Cook spoke after Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, where the company unveiled a new internet-connected speaker called HomePod and updated its Siri digital assistant to wed users more tightly to its growing slate of products and services. Apple also rolled out augmented reality tools for developers, and showed off new AR features that use iPhone cameras. This technology superimposes graphics and other information onto a person’s view of the world.
"The area I’m personally excited about is AR," Cook said. "This is profound. As we get the developer release out we’ll be the largest AR platform in the world."
The new iPhone, due later this year, is expected to have several new AR features, while people familiar with the situation have told Bloomberg that the Apple is weighing an expansion into digital glasses that may use AR.
Cook said smartphone growth and innovation are "in the early stages."
"The things that drive quantum leaps is core technology. When I think of all the things that are going to change I think we’re just getting started," he added.