Full text of Apple’s response to Congress

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wanted to know if Apple was using iPhones to snoop on users like they’d heard Google was with Android phones.

August 7, 2018

The Honorable Greg Walden
Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515-6115

Re: July 9, 2018 Letter to Mr. Tim Cook

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the capabilities of Apple iPhone devices. Not all technology companies operate in the same manner – in fact, the business mod­els and data collection and use practices are often radically different from one another. Apple’s philosophy and approach to customer data differs from many other companies on these important issues.

We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data. When we do collect data, we’re transparent about it and work to disassociate it from the user. We utilize on device processing to minimize data collection by Apple. The customer is not our prod­ uct, and our business model does not depend on collecting vast amounts of personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers.

Because we strongly believe the customer should control their personal infor­mation and the way it’s used, we provide a number of easily accessible resources on our website so that they can make wise choices. Most of your questions are addressed in public-facing documents such as our privacy website, which can be found at www.apple.com/privacy. In addition , we recently answered similar questions from Sena­tor Charles Grassley, and our responses are available online.

Innovation at Apple means designing a new product or service with customer privacy as a key element of design, and not an obligation . We hope that the responses below are helpful in understanding these topics and make clear Apple’s position that customers are entitled to transparency, choice, and control over their personal informa­tion. We would be pleased to brief Committee staff at your convenience.


Timothy Powderly,
Director, Federal Government Affairs

My take: Powderly is talking to the wind. My experience with Congresspeople is that they drag Apple to televised hearings mostly so they can make the evening news. Love, though, that Powderly suggested Walden might learn from the answers Apple gave Chuck Grassley, who had already asked most of the same questions.


  1. ” if the Trump Administration continues its bullying tactics.”

    It’s called brinksmanship. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un does it all the time. Only this time he tried it against a President that won’t put up with it. Since their meeting, Kim Jong-un has been very quiet. I’d have loved to sit in on that meeting.

    My take is that Trump is doing the same thing with China. He gets bad press because his style is foreign to what we are accustomed to. If we don’t like it you can imagine how those (North Korea, China, Iran and the EU) that must negotiate with him feel.

    I much prefer a less confrontational style, until such time as less confrontational stops working.

    August 8, 2018
  2. Fred Stein said:
    It’s just one more “AAPL OMG”, cheap trick to get eyeballs or clicks or to try to manipulate the stock. To be charitable (?) Greg Walden might be that naive. He may have no idea about Apple’s privacy policies. Or he may think he has to ask Apple if he asks Google. They’re Silicon Valley megacap.

    Bright side? Apple gets to remind people, make them feel more comfortable.

    Note a twist of the knife at the last sentence – translating: “Let me talk to your staff. They may be teachable.”

    August 8, 2018
  3. Peter Kropf said:
    “It’s called brinksmanship.” Very charitable.

    Some people call it “Throw it on the wall, risk trade war, and see what happens.”

    Others call it, “Helter Skelter. The Art of the Lie.”

    August 9, 2018

Leave a Reply