While yesterday it seemed that former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates landed squarely on the government’s side of a recent legal dispute between the FBI and Apple. The case involves a locked smartphone owned by one of several San Bernardino shooters, and whether or not Apple should be obligated to create a new version of their iOS operating system to allow access to data stored within said device. It would appear that Bill Gates doesn’t think the case is as black and white as most would suggest.
Earlier this week the Financial Times quoted Bill Gates as suggesting – implying he suggested, that is – that he backed the government in this issue, not Apple. One the headlines exploded, he changed a tune.
Yesterday Gates was quoted saying, “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.'”
Today Gates spoke with Bloomberg TV, saying he was “disappointed” at what the report had suggested he’d implied. He went on to say that “I do believe that with the right safeguards, there are cases where the government, on our behalf — like stopping terrorism, which could get worse in the future – that that is valuable”
Meanwhile former Marine Corps intelligence analyst David Kennedy has spoken with Business Insider, suggesting that “[The FBI] doesn’t understand the long-term implications of its request, and its sheer inability to handle the type of power that would come with it.”
“They cannot be trusted with this type of power,” said Kennedy. “The government’s stance has changed — the National Security Agency [NSA] used to be leaders at cracking cryptography.”
“Now they’re trying to take the easy way out so that they have a guarantee that, in the future, they’ll be able to maintain the type of surveillance they have now.”