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Bill Gates sides with FBI over iPhone access issue (updated)

"They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case."

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Bill Gates says that Apple should help the FBI break open the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone. Talking to the Financial Times, he said this was a very specific case: "They are not asking for some general thing." Gates has taken a different view compared to major tech companies: Facebook, Google and Twitter have all sided with Apple's stance after a judged ruled that the company needs to help the FBI in unlocking the shooter's phone to assist in their terrorism investigations.

FBI director James Comey has also insisted that this case is very narrow and that the bureau "doesn't want to break anyone's encryption." Gates added that rules were necessary as to when information could be accessed. "I hope that we have that debates so that the safeguards are built." While Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hasn't said anything directly, a spokesperson for the company has pointed media to a Reform Government Surveillance statement, which opposes the order. Microsoft is a member of the RGS.

Update: Gates was interviewed on Bloomberg this morning where he clarified the angle the Financial Times piece. He said he was "disappointed" by the headline because it "doesn't state my view on this." Gates went on to explain that he supports a discussion to resolve the issue. "I do believe there are sets of safeguards where the government shouldn't have to be completely blind," he said. In other words, he's not siding with the FBI, but he does believe there are cases where law enforcement should have access, with the proper safeguards in place.

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