Belfast Telegraph

Bill Gates backs US government in data fight with Apple

Bill Gates likened the Apple case to the police getting records from a phone company
Bill Gates likened the Apple case to the police getting records from a phone company

Bill Gates has sided against Apple - and many other technology companies - in saying the firm should help the US government hack into a locked iPhone as part of the investigation into the San Bernardino shootings.

Apple has resisted providing a piece of programming that would help the FBI access the phone, arguing that governments, both in the US and overseas, are likely to use the programme in other cases, undermining data privacy.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Microsoft founder Mr Gates said: "This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information." He likened it to the police getting records from a phone company.

Apple chief Tim Cook has resisted a federal magistrate's order to hack its own users, and t he heads of many other tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have sided with him.

Mr Cook said such a move would undermine encryption by creating a back door that could potentially be used on other devices.

Fourteen people were killed on December 2 when a married couple opened fire on the husband's colleagues at an office lunch gathering in San Bernardino, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

American-born Syed Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, from Pakistan, pledged allegiance to a leader of the Islamic State group on Facebook moments before the shooting. Both were later killed in a gun battle with police.

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Meanwhile, Mr Gates and his wife Melinda have called on young people to get involved in solving major world problems such as finding clean energy sources and equality for women.

The couple, who chair the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private philanthropic organisation in the world, have made a tradition of releasing an annual letter and t his year's edition calls on the young to be a driving force of innovation and change.

In her section of the letter, Mrs Gates condemns the disparity in unpaid household labour between men and women, saying that it is a problem that responsibilities for maintaining a home, raising children and caring for the elderly still fall primarily on women and girls.

She said young people could help change cultural norms.

"The way we change societal norms is by role-modelling publicly what the right thing to do is," Mrs Gates said.

Her husband, talking about the importance of cheap, clean energy, called on young people to study hard and come forward with ideas for what he called "an energy miracle".

"When I say 'miracle', I don't mean something's that impossible," he wrote.

"I've seen miracles happen before. The personal computer. The internet. The polio vaccine. None of them happened by chance. They are the result of research and development and the human capacity to innovate."