Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the commencement speech at Duke University Sunday, taking the opportunity to acknowledge significant social and political issues like climate change, gun violence and the #MeToo movement. He reminded graduates to be “fearless” while encouraging them to fight against injustice and inequality.
In addition to the regular congratulatory remarks and life advice about “daring to think different” — a nod to his friend and mentor, Apple founder Steve Jobs — Cook also brought up the issue of privacy and technology, which has been on the forefront of many Americans minds since the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal broke earlier this year.
While Cook did not name Facebook outright, it’s clear he was making a reference to the company’s current data privacy crisis and the ways in which the social media juggernaut has mishandled users’ personal information. He reaffirmed his pledge to ensure that Apple remains a company that will never violate its customers’ personal privacy.
“We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy. So we choose a different path: Collecting as little of your data as possible. Being thoughtful and respectful when it’s in our care. Because we know it belongs to you,” Cook said. “In every way, at every turn, the question we ask ourselves is not ‘what can we do’ but ‘what should we do’.”
He ended his speech with a quote from a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech at Duke in 1964, saying, “Martin Luther King stood right here at Duke, and said: “The time is always right to do right.”
Cook received his MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1988.
Read Cook’s full remarks here: