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Here's What Steve Jobs Had to Say About Apple and Privacy in 2010

"A lot of people in the Valley think we're really old-fashioned about this," the former CEO said at the D8 conference.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Apple is currently embroiled in a heated dispute with the government over access to an iPhone involved in the San Bernardino, Calif., terror attacks of December 2015, a case with potential ramifications across all of Silicon Valley.

The case stems from a decision in 2014, when Apple implemented full device encryption, effectively locking itself out of data on iPhones. But you can trace Apple’s position back a bit further.

In 2010, the late CEO Steve Jobs sat down with Re/code founders Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, at the eighth AllThingsD conference, and discussed his approach to privacy. The discussion came amid controversy that Apple and Google were using location tracking on their devices. Jobs stressed that this feature only came on when users opted in.

“Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for — in plain English, and repeatedly,” he said.

His comments arrived as Apple started to identify Google, and its ascending Android operating system, as its chief competitor. Here we see the first signs of the hardware seller deploying its privacy position as a branding and competitive tactic, a strategy that has come to the fore during its current standoff with the feds.

“A lot of people in the Valley think we’re really old-fashioned about this,” Jobs said. “And maybe we are.”

You can watch the full interview with Jobs — and one with then-Android chief Andy Rubin — here.

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