The Apple vs. FBI or Security vs. Privacy debate, depending on whichever ways it is looked at has taken on an interesting turn with Bill Gates clarifying he isn’t exactly opposing FBI’s stand but is asking Apple to review its strict posturing against the agency.
Bill Gates also expressed disappointment over the manner his statement on this has been represented which led many to believe the Microsoft founder is entirely against FBI’s demand.
Instead, Gates urged to view the situation not exactly as a security vs. privacy aspect but to ensure either one does not languish at the cost of the other.
Gates also described the situation as challenging to the policy makers and the need of the hour is how best to achieve the middle ground without hurting the sentiments of either camp.
FBI so far has been demanding, within legal parameters, to ensure they have a chance to derive the passcodes of the locked iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Farook, the prime accused in the San Bernardino terror attack.
The iPhone 5C, to put in simple terms, will only allow a user a specific number of times to attempt cracking the passcodes beyond which the entire data will be rendered unusable.
Apple though is adamant it would have none of it and will stick to its policy of withholding user’s privacy at all costs. It has termed the FBI’s demand as nothing short of creating a backdoor to their devices which, in the wrong hands, will compromise the security of other iPhone devices.
The debate takes on an even ugly turn if the government-backed mass surveillance undertaken a few years ago by the security agencies are taken into account.
Almost all major tech companies including Google, Twitter, and Facebook have expressed their solidarity with Apple. The list also includes Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who first let the world know of the large-scale surveillance the NSA had embarked upon.
Gates backed FBI’s demands saying it is a ‘particular case’ and shouldn’t be seen as a more general thing.
Gates’ stand in the issue is also somewhat contrary to what Microsoft itself has stood for. The Reform Government Surveillance Alliance of which Microsoft is a member had earlier issued a statement saying tech companies shouldn’t be asked to build backdoors to the very technologies they have implemented to keep user’s data confidential.