Close by being one of the deadliest terrorist assaults in recent history, the San Bernadino shooting has also served as the battleground for a standout amongst the most prominent fights in court with respect to the status of encryption and government access to electronic gadgets.
While Apple has remained steadfast in its opposition to requests by the FBI to allow the office to get to the data on the shooter’s telephone, and has been backed by many among the industry – including the CEOs of Facebook and its rival, Google – Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates is not one of those people. He believes that Apple should to concede to the federal agency’s requests as this would represent only a specific case, and not a general legal precedent that could be used by the government to snoop on any gadget with impunity:
[The FBI is] not requesting some general thing, [it is] requesting a specific case….It is the same than [the question of] should anybody ever have been able to tell the telephone organization to get information, should anyone 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.
He does, in any case, agree that such a privilege could be misused by government offices and wishes for protections to be put in order to prevent abuse.
Given that Gates parted ways with the organization years back and is now mostly involved with his charitable foundation, the statement is, obviously, not representative of Microsoft’s official position on the matter, as the organization has been eerily neutral and mostly refrained from commenting, both on the current issue and Gates’ recent comments.