Recently, Apple said that United States government(FBI) has demanded them to build a backdoor to the iPhone so that they can get access to the data from devices used by the criminals. Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a public letter opposing FBI’s demands. Microsoft which is a founding member of Reform Government Surveillance group supported Apple in its case with FBI with the following statement.
Reform Government Surveillance companies believe it is extremely important to deter terrorists and criminals and to help law enforcement by processing legal orders for information in order to keep us all safe. But technology companies should not be required to build in backdoors to the technologies that keep their users’ information secure. RGS companies remain committed to providing law enforcement with the help it needs while protecting the security of their customers and their customers’ information.
Tim Cook’s letter started lots of discussion around national security and customer privacy. FBI Director James Comey wrote a blog post yesterday saying the following,
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. That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land. I hope thoughtful people will take the time to understand that.
While Apple is claiming that FBI wants universal backdoor for iPhone, FBI is claiming that they just want to unlock single iPhone involved in this terrorist attack case. In the coming days, we should get clear picture from both the sides.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates today commented that Apple should unlock the iPhone as demanded by FBI.
“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,” Mr Gates told the Financial Times.
“It is no different than [the question of] should anybody ever have been able to tell the phone company to get information, should anybody be able to get at 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’.”
Even though there were benefits to the government being able to enforce taxation, stop crime and investigate terror threats, Bill Gates said that there must be rules on when the information can be accessed.
“I hope that we have that debate so that the safeguards are built and so people do not opt — and this will be country by country — [to say] it is better that the government does not have access to any information,” he said.