Bill Gates weighs in again on Apple vs the FBI

A Reddit AMA session has seen a new weigh-in from Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Apple vs FBI cases, where the former CEO outlined his views.

For the second time, we have statements from former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates on Apple vs FBI cases. While the influential business magnate has previously offered his support for the FBI in a ‘particular case’, new discussions from a Reddit AMA have shed light on the Microsoft founder’s views.
Responding to the question “So what would you do if you were Apple?”, Gates offered a measured approach and outlined his belief that a balance needs to be struck between civil liberty and cyber security.
Read: Bill Gates sides with the FBI against Apple
“Maybe they could propose an overall plan for striking the balance between government being able to know things in some cases and having safeguards to make sure those powers are confined to appropriate cases. There is no avoiding this debate and they could contribute to how the balance should be struck.” Gates answered.
Previously, Google’s Sundar Pichai as well as Facebook and Twitter have all thrown in their support for Apple, who is presently engaging the state in court over requests to access the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has warned that offering even access to one iPhone would set a “dangerous precedent”.
Read: Tim Cook blasts FBI request for iPhone access
Gates has instead advocated support for the FBI’s investigation into the San Bernardino shooter, and has noted that both sides should discuss the debate openly:
“I think there needs to be a discussion about when the government should be able to gather information… What if we never had wiretapping? …the government needs to talk openly about safeguards. Right now a lot of people don’t think the government has the right checks to make sure information is only used in criminal situations. So this case will be viewed as the start of a discussion. I think very few people take the extreme view that the government should be blind to financial and commercial data but very few people think giving the government carte blanche without safeguards makes sense.”
Read: Google‘s Sundar Pichai backs Apple over FBI requests
Gates further pushed towards the concept of establishing an international policy as well as modernising present laws.
“A lot of countries like the UK and France are also going through this debate,” he said. “For tech companies there needs to be some consistency including how governments work with each other. The sooner we modernize the laws the better.”
What are your thoughts on the views of Bill Gates on Apple vs FBI cases? Do you agree or disagree? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA
Read the full AMA here