Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong.
Photograph by Getty Images
By Kia Kokalitcheva
June 17, 2015

Edward Snowden thinks Apple’s new pledge to protect customer privacy is something worth supporting.

Speaking at the Challenge.rs conference in Spain via video call Wednesday, the NSA whistleblower shared his thoughts about Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook’s recent statements about customer privacy as it relates to Apple’s business model, TechCrunch reported.

Unlike many other companies, Apple says it doesn’t want to exploit users’ data and turn it into revenue. Whether the company’s stance is genuine or purely a marketing strategy to differentiate itself is, at the moment, not important as long as Apple does indeed resist collecting and selling customer data as its business model, Snowden said, adding that it’s a stance and model we should encourage other companies to adopt.

Said Snowden:

And we should support vendors who are willing to innovate. Who are willing to take positions like that, and go “You know, just because it’s popular to collect everybody’s information and resell it … to advertisers and whatever, it’s going to serve our reputation, it’s going to serve our relationship with our customers, and it’s going to serve society better. If instead we just align ourselves with our customers and what they really want, if we can outcompete people on the value of our products without needing to subsidize that by information that we’ve basically stolen from our customers, that’s absolutely something that should be supported. And regardless of whether it’s honest or dishonest, for the moment, now, that’s something we should support, that’s something we should incentivize, and it’s actually something we should emulate.

He added that now that Apple has taken a public stance on the issue, going back on its word later on will be even more damaging in the eyes of consumers as it would be “a betrayal of a promise.”

In the past year, Apple has been forced to address privacy issues, especially following the iCloud hack that exposed some celebrities’ personal photos.

More: Read about Apple in the new Fortune 500 list

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