Apple CEO Tim Cook believes that there’s an urgent need for the government to protect people’s online privacy. Cook shows his concern about companies collecting and selling personal data in a recent ABC News interview. But what also worries him is how much time the average person spends looking at a screen.

Less privacy online than in real life

Cook explains how the rise of computers, mobile phones and other devices has jeopardized our privacy. Back in the days, the worst thing someone could do – other than commit a crime – was to pry on people by looking in their window. But this isn’t so bad anymore these days. “The people who track on the internet know a lot more about you than if somebody’s looking in your window. A lot more,” Cook said.

Digital wellbeing

Cook is not only concerned about our online privacy, but also about our digital wellbeing. He was surprised to find out that he picks up his phone around 200 times a day. “I don’t want you using our product a lot. What we want to build are products to enrich your life. If you use it too often, there’s probably something that we should do to make your usage more productive.” Cook explains.

Apple and privacy

Tim Cook is an advocate for online privacy, but he doesn’t deny that Apple isn’t perfect in protecting it. Some apps in the iTunes store collect your data, as well as the Google Browser, that all Apple products are equipped with. Google makes money by selling the collected data. “We chose Google because it’s the best browser,” Cook argues. Even though Apple has its faults, the company does not sell your data to third parties. “We make money if we can convince you to buy an iPhone. You are not our product. Our products are iPhones and iPads,” explains Cook. He recently told Time Magazine that he and others were “calling on the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation—a landmark package of reforms that protect and empower the consumer.”

What you can do to protect your data

Apple is well on its way to ensure our online privacy, but there’s still much to do. In the meantime, you yourself can take measures to protect your data. One way to do this is by using a VPN. A VPN gives you an anonymous, protected connection to the internet so that all the data that companies have collected while you were online can’t be traced back to you. An added bonus to using a VPN is that it allows you to circumvent geoblocking. This way you can, for example, watch TV-series on Netflix that aren’t available in your country. There are a lot of different VPNs out there – some more expensive than others, some easier to set up, some with more servers. To find out which provider suits you best, you can check out our top 10 VPN providers or our article about finding the best VPN for you.

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