Bill Gates sides with FBI on Apple encryption fight, says scope is limited to one iPhone

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2016
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said he disagrees with Apple's decision to not provide the FBI with a software workaround that breaks iOS, and instead sides with a narrow reading of the government's request for assistance that supposedly precludes wider dissemination of the as-yet-uncreated expoit.


Source: Forbes


Gates weighed in on the hot button topic on Tuesday, telling the Financial Times that technology companies, including Apple, should comply with government requests for assistance pertaining to investigations into terrorist activity. Further, he disputes Apple's claims that the creation of a so-called backdoor would set precedent both for the Justice Department and international state players looking to get their hands on consumer 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," Gates said. "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'."

The U.S. Department of Justice, as well as FBI Director James Comey and the White House, argue much the same, noting the requested software workaround would be limited to an iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. A federal magistrate judge last week ordered Apple comply with FBI requests to assist in the unlocking of Farook's iPhone, which is currently protected by a passcode.

For its part, Apple and CEO Tim Cook contend that the mere existence of a proof-of-concept exploit inherently weakens iOS safeguards, which is why the company is pushing back in court. Apple has been working with law enforcement officials on the San Bernardino case since January, and in doing so provided iCloud backups associated with Farook's device.

Despite a cavalcade of tech industry bigwigs coming out in support of Apple, a Pew Research Center poll on Monday showed a majority of respondents side with the government. It is unclear if the poll group understood the underlying digital security issues, as 51 percent of respondents said Apple should "unlock the iPhone."

The situation is made more confusing with the DOJ's side campaign for public opinion. It came out over the weekend that U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker and San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos asked a California lawyer Stephen Larson to file an amicus brief on behalf of the government. Larson's filing represents an unknown number of victims and families affected by the San Bernardino attack.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 149
    Slippery slope, Bill, slippery slope.
    edited February 2016 only_live_oncebaconstangAniewtheckmanlolliverirelandtallest skilbrakkenpotatoleeksoupchia
  • Reply 2 of 149
    Bill's been a statist for quite some time, and he's nowhere near the 'nice guy' he's portrayed to be. 
    poksinolamacguyAniewtheckmanlollivertallest skilbrakkenjdwwilliamlondonchia
  • Reply 3 of 149
    Bill's been a statist for quite some time, and he's nowhere near the 'nice guy' he's portrayed to be. 
    Right...so if Bill disagrees with Apple, he's obviously a "statist" and not "nice guy he's portrayed to be". Thoughtful comment. Got any more gems.
    levisingularitykoopinthemix
  • Reply 4 of 149
    Disappointed to hear this from Bill.

    "a Pew Research Center poll on Monday showed a majority of respondents side with the government, though it is unclear if the public at large understands the underlying digital security issues"

    That poll is meaningless. The way it was worded and how the questions were asked makes it impossible to trust the outcome.
    calibaconstanghlee1169mwhitelolliverirelandnoivadpscooter63icoco3jbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 149
    Anyone recommend a safe, working alternative to Skype?  This is all the more reason to stay away from anything now connected to MSFT.
    calibaconstanghlee1169Anilolliverirelandwilliamlondonicoco3jbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 149
    i find it insensitive for the victims of the families involved in the tragedy that apple are such jerks to capitalize on the situation to advocate for free speech..
    Just take the freakin' iPhone from FBI unlock it and give it back to them 
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 6 of 149
    Its nice to see a company stick its neck out in the fight for customer privacy, why should apple do the FBI's job for them? Calling this just a ribbon is utter ignorance. The whole idea of the pass-code encryption is the phones refusal for endless trying after all if the FBI can attempt as many times as they want the 4-6 digit code can be broken within minutes, on any phone. This means that if apple finds a way or is forced to have a way to circumvent the retry count the code is useless and now we will need a huge pass-code to login into the phone. Too bad for the FBI the phone is a 5c if it was a 5s they could have used his finger.
    calinolamacguyhlee1169lolliverirelandcincymacbadmonkchia
  • Reply 8 of 149
    koopkoop Posts: 337member
    Bill is allowed to respectfully disagree if he wants to. While this is red meat for a lot of Apple enthusiasts, keep in mind that this issue is not black and white and is really complex not just from a technical standpoint but from a moral standpoint as well.
    singularity
  • Reply 9 of 149
    I hope the US government gives them an ultimatum to pay their taxes that they've been evading for years or deport them all to Ireland
  • Reply 10 of 149
    This kind of speculation as to what the government actually wants is a bit unnerving isn't it? I mean, shouldn't Apple/the FBI/the public know at this point whether it's a "backdoor" exploit they want or just for Apple to crack this one phone? Shouldn't Bill Gates know that, unless Apple is lying, the encryption on these phones is as uncrackable by Apple as it is for the government, so that his interpretation of what the government wants is a bit...un-doable?
    calilolliverjdwbrakken
  • Reply 11 of 149
    Look...don't Hv to give FBI anything. Just open the friggn phone FOR hem, don't have to give any 'software'
  • Reply 12 of 149
    I love all things Apple, but they're out of their depth here. This is a massive overreaction akin to those who lie awake nights worrying that red light cameras are the first step to Big Brother taking over. What is needed is not an extreme, Snowden-like anti-government position, but a balancing test so both safety and privacy can be protected. That's how this will ultimately play out: Apple will lose this one and then legislation will strike the appropriate balance between safety and privacy. 
  • Reply 13 of 149
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    john673 said:
    apple is infected with imbecilities taken to extremes: rights of all kinds and advocacy to the point of ridiculous. But no wonder with such a gay CEO..

    The so called advocacy positions you're referring are a reflection of the company's culture and ideals. Apple like most successful Silicon Valley tech firms often takes a forward looking approach when addressing issues. Most I suspect also have a negligible or net positive effect on thier bottom line in the long run. If Apple thinks using sustainable resources and taking a position on civil rights (which effects it's talent and customers alike) is important to it's core business, then it probably is. So keep your bigoted homophobic nonsense to yourself. Your ignorant views are a reflection of the past. 
    calironnbaconstangnolamacguyflaneurirelandbrakkenlollivercnocbuiwilliamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 149
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,142member
    john673 said:
    i find it insensitive for the victims of the families involved in the tragedy that apple are such jerks to capitalize on the situation to advocate for free speech..
    Just take the freakin' iPhone from FBI unlock it and give it back to them 
    john673 said:
    I hope the US government gives them an ultimatum to pay their taxes that they've been evading for years or deport them all to Ireland
    We've got a sharp one here, folks.
    Madnut666leviericthehalfbeebaconstangRayz2016minglok50fastasleepsilversquonkzimmermannmwhite
  • Reply 15 of 149
    People seem to be missing a couple of points here--one, there is simply no way to limit it to "one phone." Once it exists, a judge can order Apple to do it again--and can do so in secret, so Apple has to do it without telling anyone.
    Second, this isn't limited to the U.S. Once this exists, China could order Apple to do it routinely, and Apple's only option would be to leave the huge Chinese market completely. Apple's only defense right now is that the software doesn't exist.
    ronnbaconstangnolamacguymwhite6Sgoldfishlolliverwilliamlondonchiaicoco3dysamoria
  • Reply 16 of 149
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,062member
    staticx57 said:
    Slippery slope, Bill, slippery slope.
    It's not a slippery slope. Legal president is more like a jagged cliff.
    baconstangstaticx57ewtheckmanlolliver
  • Reply 17 of 149
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,142member
    levi said:
    john673 said:
    apple is infected with imbecilities taken to extremes: rights of all kinds and advocacy to the point of ridiculous. But no wonder with such a gay CEO..

    The so called advocacy positions you're referring are a reflection of the company's culture and ideals. Apple like most successful Silicon Valley tech firms often takes a forward looking approach when addressing issues. Most I suspect also have a negligible or net positive effect on thier bottom line in the long run. If Apple thinks using sustainable resources and taking a position on civil rights (which effects it's talent and customers alike) is important to it's core business, then it probably is. So keep your bigoted homophobic nonsense to yourself. Your ignorant views are a reflection of the past. 

    How the fuck do such comments not void posting privileges? Gay bashing is still ok?
    edited February 2016 baconstangnolamacguyzimmermannmwhitepscooter63dysamoriaadamc
  • Reply 18 of 149
    metrixmetrix Posts: 250member
    john673 said:
    i find it insensitive for the victims of the families involved in the tragedy that apple are such jerks to capitalize on the situation to advocate for free speech..
    Just take the freakin' iPhone from FBI unlock it and give it back to them 
    You don't care what bit about these victims do you? You are pathetic to try and exploit this situation just to put Apple down. Your 41 posts are just spewing hatred toward Apple and stupid tax evasion. It's basically like someone moving to Nevada, Alaska, Florida,  to avoid paying state income tax. Are these people doing anything illegal? No! Are the states doing anything illegal? No! Yet people move these states because they have  huge tax advantages. Hey guess what corporations do the same thing. Apple, GE, Microsoft, Pfizer, IBM, Merck, Johnson & Johnson,Exxon Mobil, Google, Cisco, Procter & Gamble all have off shore cash holdings. 
    baconstangapple iigsbrakkenlolliverjmey267
  • Reply 19 of 149
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Why do these articles bring hordes of moronic one-post members?

    As for Bill.... Shame , shame. As if I needed more reason to not trust Windows. It's funny how there's millions of criminals with iPhones yet the FBI is demanding to have this one iPhone from a dead terrorist unlocked and there's a high chance there's no important info in it. Tell the FBI to do their job and stop crying to Apple for help.
    baconstangnolamacguybrakkenlolliverwilliamlondonbadmonkchiadysamoria
  • Reply 20 of 149
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    I wonder how the US government would react if the the country which was asking for back door tool from Apple was Iran or China? 
    baconstanglolliverbadmonkchiaradarthekatAnasazi59dysamoriapalomine
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