The tech giant's boss has long been vocal in his support for user privacy and he noted with phones knowing so much about our relationships, what we access online and the photos we take that there are risks if the data isn't protected properly.
He told Vice News Tonight: "I see privacy as one of the most important issues of the 21st century.
"I'm not a pro-regulation kind of person, I believe in the free market deeply [but] when the free market doesn't produce a result that's great for society, you have to ask yourself: What do we need to do? And I think some level of government regulation is important to come out of that.
Cook added that he is "optimistic" with the issue becoming part of a wider conversation even with getting Congress to understand technology and privacy well enough being "a challenge".
He added: "I think there is a need to work with Congress and the staff to make sure that we do our jobs of helping them kind of come up to speed ... on what's possible.
"I'm exceedingly optimistic that this subject is now in the vocabulary and getting discussed. And now we've got to all figure out a way to take it to the next level, and change some things."