Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is in support of the FBI’s request for Apple to provide iPhone information of the San Bernardino attackers in the ongoing investigation.
Gates disagrees with Apple CEO Tim Cook, believing that tech companies should be forced to cooperate with law enforcement officials during terrorism investigations. He does not think that Apple providing the FBI with specific iPhone information will set a wider precedent for government access to information.
“This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information. They are not asking for some general things, they are asking for a particular case,” Gates told the Financial Times in an interview.
Gates does not think that providing this information will put America’s privacy at risk. He argues that by providing information from this particular phone, Apple is admitting that they can have access to anyone’s phone, which is something they are not ready to do.
Gates compares the iPhone situation to one where a bank would need to provide information to the government for a criminal investigation.
“It is no different that [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,” said Gates.
“Any time a bank is told ‘Hey, turn over a bank account information,’ as soon as they do that on one person, they are admitting they can do that on many people,” Gates explains.
Apple is currently in a dispute with the Federal Government over whether or not they should be required to write software capable of unlocking San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement that he believes the request to be an overreach.
Bill Gates’ position on the dispute currently sets him apart from most of the technology industry community, where influential figures such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Sundar Pichai of Google all stand behind Apple.
“Apple has access to the information… They’re just refusing to provide access to the information and the courts will tell them whether to provide the access or not,” said Gates.