Tim Cook Discusses Health and Privacy in New Interview

NPR has a new interview with Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook. The topic? Health data and privacy.

The publication offers up a simple question right out of the gate: “Can Apple live up to its privacy values?” It starts off with a quick profile of an Apple Health user, Sam Cavaliere, who uses the app to keep tabs on a variety of points of interest. That includes exercise routines, steps, and more. The health app is now storing his medical records, too.

The ease of use, and the fact that his records are right there on the phone, is too good to pass up:

“When I go to the doctor, in addition to my records from there, I get my blood pressure results that I’ve taken myself,” Cavaliere says. “And they can see that and compare it to what they’re doing in the office so that they get a bigger picture than just the once or twice a year that I show up at the office.”

But how does Apple handle all of that? Privacy and security are major focal points for the company, something that has not changed in quite some time. That certainly extends to health records. And while health data might be a ridiculously prosperous source of information for third-party companies, Cook says the company does not rely on acquiring user data for advertising purposes:

“In an interview with NPR, Cook says acquiring user data to sell ads is something his company has avoided. “People will look at this and feel that they can trust Apple,” he says. “That’s a key part of anyone that you’re working with on your health.”

Cook adds that privacy should be a basic requirement when it comes to health data:

It’s not the way we look at it in terms of advantages,” he says. “The reality is that I know for me, I want to do business with people that have my health data, people that I deeply trust.”

When asked about a recent report that exposed a variety of different apps that were sending private information to companies like Facebook, including intent to get pregnant, Cook said the developers have been warned. If they do not change their practices, they run the risk of getting their apps removed from the App Store altogether.

Cook doesn’t say anything revelatory here. It’s all the same stuff that we have come to expect from the company up to this point. Previously, Cook said that Apple’s “largest contribution” will be health-related, and that definitely seems to be the case.

[via NPR]