Bill Gates sides with FBI in Apple encryption debate

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In a notable departure from the majority of the tech industry, Bill Gates supports the FBI's demand that Apple unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino gunmen, reports Financial Times.

Mr. Gates, founder of Microsoft, told Financial Times technology companies have an obligation to work with law enforcement in terrorism investigations.

He also said Apple CEO Tim Cook calling the government order to unlock the phone a "back door" is misleading.

"This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information," he said. "They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case."

He continued, saying the issue at hand is similar to somebody trying to access 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.'"

Apple opposes the government's demand to unlock the iPhone for the FBI's investigation into Syed Rizwan Farook's phone. Mr. Farook and his wife opened fire at a holiday party in December.

Apple — and most other tech companies — view the government's demand as a threat to all customer safety, saying creating one master key to unlock the phone creates the possibility for the technique to be duplicated by anyone, threatening the security of all iPhone customers.

Tech companies who have voiced support of Apple's opposition to the demand include Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook.

More articles on encryption:

EHR vendors: The next target for healthcare hackers?
Google, Edward Snowden stand with Apple on phone encryption debate
Four industry challenges health informatics can solve

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