While the entire valley backs Apple’s side on its stand of refusing the Government demand to unlock San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone, the FBI and US Justice department have found an unlikely, and a strong supporter in none other than Bill Gates.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Bill Gates disagreed with Apple’s claim that creating a separate and older version of iOS for the terrorist’s iPhone to access its data — as demanded by FBI — would create a backdoor for all the iPhones.
This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information. They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case,
said Gates in his interview. He went on further and gave an analogy of a phone company or the bank which are often approached by authorities in criminal cases.
It is no different than [the question of] should anybody ever have been able to tell the phone company to get information, should anybody be able to get at bank records. Let’s say the bank had tied a ribbon round the disk drive and said ‘don’t make me cut this ribbon because you’ll make me cut it many times’,
This is in stark contrast to the views expressed by the likes of Sundar Pichai and others who have almost unanimously supported the stand of Tim Cook to safeguard the privacy of people all over the world.
In fact, Microsoft has also offered an indirect support by backing a statement made by the Reform Government Surveillance (RGS), of which Microsoft is a founding member.
A part of that statement had read that “the technology companies should not be required to build in backdoors to the technologies that keep their users’ information secure”. Microsoft chairman Satya Nadella had retweeted the statement, although he is yet to make any official direct comment on the issue.
The whole issue has reignited the debate between the tech companies and the government authorities on the question of revealing sensitive user data, not just in the US but all over the world.
Bill Gates has also stressed the need of a healthy debate over the issue saying that there must be rules about when the government should be able to access such data. He said,
I hope that we have that debate so that the safeguards are built and so people do not opt — and this will be country by country — [to say] it is better that the government does not have access to any information.