Bill Gates sides with FBI in Apple hack debate

Former Microsoft boss Bill Gates has potentially isolated himself from his tech contemporaries by saying that Apple should abide by a government ruling forcing it to share encrypted data.

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,” he told the Financial Times.

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’.”

Current Microsoft boss Satya Nadella has not publicly commented on the situation, although Microsoft has pointed press enquiries toward the Reform Government Surveillance organisation, of which it is a member, that oppose the proposed move to breach iOS security.

Other tech leaders such as Google boss Sundar Pichai and Mozilla executive director Mark Surman have backed Apple’s Tim Cook, as have Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

On the other side of the fence, both the White House and Donald Trump have publicly lambasted Apple’s refusal to abide by rulings forcing it to compromise its own encryption to aid in the investigation into December’s San Bernardino shootings.

UPDATE:Speaking to Bloomberg, Gates has saidhe was "disappointed" by the FT’s headline and that it doesn;t reflect his views. He does, however, think that "there are sets of safeguards where the government shouldn’t have to be completely blind".

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