Bill Gates is the first tech mogul to support the FBIs case against Apple.
The government agency has issued a court order demanding that Apple find a way to unlock the iPhone used by deceased San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.
“It is no different than … should anybody ever have been able to tell the phone company to get information … should anybody be able to get at bank records,” Gates said in an interview with the Financial Times. “There’s no difference between information.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook has vigorously opposed the FBIs court order, he says he won’t follow a request to “hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers.”
Cook says he opposes building a backdoor that “could be used over and over again, on any number of devices.”
Following Apple’s decision, the CEOs at Google, Twitter, and Facebook, were quick to throw their support behind Apple.
“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.
FBI Director James Comey has described his agency’s request as “limited.”
“We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly,” he said. “That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.”
Microsoft is a member of the Reform Government Surveillance alliance. That group, which also includes Yahoo, AOL, and others, issued a statement last week which said “technology companies should not be required to build in backdoors to the technologies that keep their users’ information secure.”