back to article Bill Gates denies iPhone crack demand would set precedent

Bill Gates has weighed into the row between Apple and the FBI as to whether the fruity firm should unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino murderer, denying that such a move would create a dangerous precedent for “back doors.” Apple has publicly refused to allow the US government access to the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook who …

  1. Vimes

    Bill Gates ought to have a chat with the NYPD amongst others before making those sorts of claims.

    Note the time and date Microsoft joins Prism. AND Microsoft only started visibly fighting against government demands when they became public knowledge.

    Yet he wants to be taken seriously on this? Really?

    http://s1.ibtimes.com/sites/www.ibtimes.com/files/styles/embed-md/public/2015/11/18/snowden-slide.png

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So 7 years after Ballmer took over as CEO and the year after Gates stepped down as CSA?

      I'm on the fence with this whole issue, and I'm British so I don't really care, but I don't understand why you all don't have the big public debate that everyone seems to be suggesting. People want their government to protect them from the bad guys. To do that they need information. It's a sliding scale, you just need to figure out between yourselves how much information you want vs how risk averse you are.

      Or you know, follow our example and just give them everything and don't bother asking. Not that I'm bitter... :\

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        People want their government to protect them from the bad guys. To do that they need information. It's a sliding scale, you just need to figure out between yourselves how much information you want vs how risk averse you are.

        Ah, but you're basing that on an assumption of a sliding scale between good and bad. The problem is that those who were originally the "good" guys are not entirely in this for the benefit of the people they are supposed to protect, because the consequences would be LESS security by default.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

        Thank you for posting your well considered thoughts on the matter.

        If I may add:

        A lot of the hair-trigger responses to this are from (fellow) Americans, stating their "right to privacy". Actually and accurately, contrary to popular opinion, the American Constitution does NOT guarantee an absolute right to privacy, it guarantees privacy against "unreasonable" intrusions via governmental actions. "Unreasonable" is properly defined as well, being unsubstantiated, without due process, without due cause or failing a legal burden of proof.

        So continuing the theme of bursting the bubble on the privacy "absolutists", the United States government went through all the legal processes to show that their request meets a more-than-reasonable burden of proof of why this suspect's privacy needs to be revoked, via assistance in unlocking this very specific and individual smartphone. No grand claims of over-reaching expectations, no FUD thrown around against alleged, yet unknown, perpetrators...no, none of the usual cloak-and-dagger routine regarding why modern electronic privacy needs to be overriden in general. One specific case, with very specific requests for outcomes, against a very specific target.

        Exactly what the writers of our laws intended.

        In other words, people, get over it. Laws sometimes do exactly what you want they they work as intended, sometimes they work against your specific beliefs but still do what they were intended to do. One case, one phone. No more.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

          One piece of software that once developed can be trivially changed for the next Iphone 5C ID the next time the feds come knocking.

          This one request massively lowers the bar for the flood that follows. Before you know it you have your phone cracked for applying to an out of area school. (Happened in the UK with RIPA).

          Goverment/Law Enforcement overreach is a fact they abuse every capability we give them.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

            One piece of software that once developed can be trivially changed for the next Iphone 5C ID the next time the feds come knocking.

            How do you know that Apple don't already have a fully functional version of this variant build of iOS in their development lab's? just that no one has told Tim...

          2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            Re: To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

            This one request massively lowers the bar for the flood that follows.

            The flood is already here

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

            "One piece of software that once developed can be trivially changed for the next Iphone 5C ID the next time the feds come knocking."

            And that's FUD, for if you worry about making any change as a possibility of causing a future cascade effect, then nothing would get done. And yes, that includes making the laws that you worry about in the first place, the laws that (gasp! horror!) allow a functional society in the first place.

            Again, and I'll repeat it because you missed it, you never had the right to absolute privacy in the first place. And look! You still have some - being carefully whittled away by private enterprise, when you quite willingly GIVE your private data to companies when you use their products at your convenience.

            Do you worry that Visa/MasterCard has more information on you than your government: knowing your travel habits, your buying habits and therefore YOUR PRECISE LOCATION every single time you use that card?? No, you didn't, did you? You just whipped it out...while complaining about how much government intrudes into your life.

            Most people who complain about how much government is around them are the very same people who broadcast their family photos to strangers on Facebook, announce their personal activities and tastes on Twitter, allow their credit card companies to know just about every basic activity in their lives by buying every £4 latte with it, and chat personal and financial dealings using their smartphone. They are a veritable spewing volcano of personal information to private enterprise...but then then worry exclusively about their government.

            The same government that is bought and paid for by those private enterprises.

            So where is the true power, and who should you be worried about?

            Think about it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

          "Actually and accurately, contrary to popular opinion, the American Constitution does NOT guarantee an absolute right to privacy"

          But the Constitution (minus amendments) seems to be written under the assumption that there is such a right and that we are better off being left alone by the government. Also, the Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade found that there is a right to privacy in the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment. So, actually and accurately, we do have a right to privacy.

        3. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

          It isn't really a question of "the one phone," it is the events around it which raise a concern.

          Was it terrorism? Really? The government said they were "at least partly inspired by Islamic State." That sounds an awful lot like watching a film "inspired by true events." It looks to me like a couple of nutters with guns, who are now dead and beyond the reach of the law. Mass murderers, yes, but "terrorists" is pure speculation. The massacre is what happens when you have lax gun control. Labeling them "terrorists" rather than mass murderers conveniently deflects attention away from the general problem of gun crime which is far more dangerous than terrorism.

          So with these factors, I begin to question the FBI's motives. Do they also help out the Chinese who have the phone of a US citizen? While the court order is in place (and that is good), I would be concerned that things may expand. Is there any effective difference between the government having all the keys and the government having the ability to update the software?

          Just because it is sad, does not mean we "owe it to the victims." They need to consider the implications of what they are demanding and the fact that it will not bring their relatives back and it will not provide "insights" which would stop it happening again.

          This is definitely an instance of a hard case making bad law.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

          The wonderful thing about laws, is they are person specific.

          We have yet to hear any statement on the Apple -FBI issue from the victims families, 9-11 victims families and the other victims of terrorism, only the "didn't happen to me so I don't support it" lobby and one from a company that makes money out of you thinking they cannot hack it for the FBI.

          I bet they could find a few ruskie hackers that could do the job for them if they look hard enough

          1. Vimes

            Re: To AC "7 years": A well thought out answer

            ...9-11 victims families and the other victims of terrorism...

            I think all the 9/11 terrorists needed were box cutters and some flying lessons. Phones never came into it.

            As for the rest show me one single attack that could have been stopped with data from a source such as a mobile phone that the government didn't in fact already have.

      3. bobsmith2016

        'To do that they need information. It's a sliding scale, you just need to figure out between yourselves how much information you want vs how risk averse you are.'

        In a nation of 300 million? Good luck getting consensus on that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It continues to amaze me that after all this time people still think that Bill G is part of Microsoft.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Bill G is part of Microsoft.

        I think he owns more than enough shares to say what happens. You dont have to be on the board to be heard.

        1. Keven E

          Re: Bill G is part of Microsoft.

          Bill Gates "calling for a public debate" that would be "worth having", in my opinion, just disrespected everyone here in this forum as well as every other place it's being *debated.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bill G is part of Microsoft.

          As of February this year, he owns less than 3%.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        erm, when Balmer took over, he was still chairman - up until Nadella took over. He's now their "technology adviser".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Bill Gates was the one who fired Steve Ballmer in August 2013

          so the comments about "7 years after.." are disingenuous to say the least.

          One month later, in September 2013, Ballmer hosted his last company meeting.

          In October 2014, the famous Vanity Fair profile stated that Ballmer and Gates no longer talk to each other due to bad blood over Ballmer's resignation.

  2. John H Woods

    “I think we expect governments to find out everything they can about terrorism." said Bill Gates, as he handed in his own devices for analysis, provided a software "skeleton key" for access to all Windows Servers, and campaigned for a ten-fold increase in general taxation to fund more investigation into terrorism..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      provided a software "skeleton key" for access to all Windows Servers

      No need with Windows 10 - it did get the nickname "Slurp" for a reason..

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Except the telemetry claims are completely bogus and bad on an incorrect Reddit thread that was rebuffed and removed and actually the Windows 10 telemetry is no worse than anything since Vista.

        But don't let me stop you just parroting arguments that you haven't bothered to check.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          @ Lee D

          Go and read the M/S T&Cs. Look for anything that limits what they can grab under your agreement with them. It looks reasonable that they'd need your login credentials with themselves. But do they restrict themselves to saving those or do they include the right to capture anything else such as your bank login creds, your Amazon creds, your eBay creds....? Last time I looked there was no limit to what you'd have to agree to. Same thing about transactions: it's reasonable they'd keep their transactions with you but the language doesn't limit them to that. If they capture all you bank transactions, there'd be no problem because you'd agreed to that as well.

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            a) Almost every privacy policy has the same problem.

            b) Data Protection Law trumps contract, every time. Even signed contract. Even signed, consented contract. Even signed, consented, double-checked, no-duress, absolutely WANT to give the info contracts.

            a) means they *could* do it. b) means they'd be in more trouble than if they'd had no EULA at all if they did so.

            Again - check the background. NOBODY has seen such traffic actually transiting. It's all a rumour based on what the EULA can be interpreted to read (if you completely ignore the precedence of law and the Data Protection obligations). And if you read some other privacy policies in the industry, they can be similarly interpreted to be a hundred times worse.

            Stuff and nonsense. And the more worrying thing than ANYTHING in the EULA is what the US are doing that's not written down anywhere. All your pontificating over a loose wording in a contract no worse than anything in the thing you "agreed to" to install Office 365 several years ago, or to play a game on a secured server, is null and void in the face of the actual people you DON'T want having those details, who COULD order them, and who have ZERO oversight from any geeks or data protection authorities.

            P.S. Amazon EULA's briefly contained wording about zombies. Was that legal too? Could that be invoked in the case of a zombie attack, or would a judge see it as humour? What's written in a EULA isn't even CLOSE to being the fact of the matter as far as the law is concerned.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "People want their government to protect them from the bad guys"

      ...and when the government are the bad guys?

      1. Bullseyed

        > ...and when the government are the bad guys?

        Gates is a liberal. The concept of a government bad guy does not compute.

    3. Mpeler
      Big Brother

      Opening the Gates

      "and campaigned for a ten-fold increase in general taxation to fund more terrorism.."

      There. FTFY.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Are you a constitutional lawyer then Bill?

    If no, STFU {please}

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Are you...

      Are you a retired billionaire who thirty-odd years ago re-sold someone else's OS?

      If so I, and my fellow commentards, would love to hear your views on privacy, free speech and just about anything that else that takes your fancy.

      Well I say would love to...I might have been a bit misleading.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are you...

        Are you a dead fruity billionaire who's company sells someone else's free OS?

        If so I, and my fellow commentards, would love to hear your views on privacy, free speech and just about anything that else that takes your fancy.

        Well I say would love to...I might have been a bit misleading

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Are you a constitutional lawyer then Bill?

      Oh dear, apparently neither Billy boy's parents nor his nanny ever passed on the following folk wisdom when he was a wee lad:

      "Do a job once, and they'll want you to do it again. Do a job twice, and it's yours forever!"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are you a constitutional lawyer then Bill?

      Are you a constitutional lawyer then Bill?

      No, but he has spent enough time in court testifying when suspected of all sorts of corporate legal creativity to know who he needs to stay friends with.

      And that isn't you or me, or even the rest of the IT industry, formerly known to him as the competition.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10

    Gate's position should not be a surprise, given that Windows 10 is so laden with spyware that it even contains a key logger.

    I know a lot of lawyers who are concerned that using Windows 10 would violate their requirements to maintain client confidentiality.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Windows 10

      @AC

      Could you give us links to sources please? I, for one, am too time poor/posh/lazy to search myself

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: keylogger

        Well, PCWorld says it does, and WinBeta says it doesn't. Geek says yeah, but.

        How much you trust any of them is up to you to determine.

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          Re: keylogger

          Microsoft itself says "When you interact with your Windows device by speaking, writing (handwriting), or typing, Microsoft collects speech, inking, and typing information—including information about your Calendar and People (also known as contacts) [...] We also collect your typed and handwritten words [...] Some of this data is stored on your device and some is sent to Microsoft [...] You can turn the Send Microsoft info about how I write setting on or off in Settings.".

          So that's fairly unambiguous. Microsoft does collect things including "your typed ... words" and "Some of this data ... is sent to Microsoft". But not all of it and you can opt out. I'd be uneasy, I think a lot of people wouldn't care.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: keylogger

            I'd be more worried about what is stored on the PC. Not to minimize the data being sent to Microsoft that they do who knows what with, but at least the chances of keystrokes linked to you personally getting in the hands of hackers through Microsoft are pretty small.

            The stuff stored on your PC, on the other hand, would be just sitting there waiting for the first malware that sets up residence on your PC. If it happened to log your keystrokes when you are logging into your bank then the malware gets your bank password the moment it takes up residence in your PC. Even if tomorrow's AV update kills it off the damage is already done.

          2. Bullseyed

            Re: keylogger

            > Microsoft collects speech, inking, and typing information

            Is this the part where we expect to be able to use voice commands but object to the processing of voice data necessary to parse voice commands?

            Siri has to listen to every word you ever say, send it to Apple and to the third party who actually does the processing for Siri, so she can tell if you said "hey Siri".

            This data could be potentially aggregated or spied on, prior to being discarded after processing. Or you can just go without voice commands. Predictive keyboards and spell check work the same way, but with keystrokes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 10

        Could you give us links to sources please? I, for one, am too time poor/posh/lazy to search myself

        Tough. A couple of minutes on Google or using Wireshark would tell you everything you need to know, but given that you seem to outsource thinking, let's skip all that and go straight for the advice: avoid.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Windows 10

        @ Semtex451

        Don't forget what's not in this week could be in next week and you won't be able to say no. Go & read the T&Cs for yourself. Don't take anyone's word but Microsoft's for what they allow themselves, or rather what you agree to allow them. But read carefully. Note what's not there in terms of restrictions.

  5. Lysenko

    Apple has access to the information, they are just refusing access..

    No, Apple do not have access to the information. They have the probable capability to obtain the information if they elect to do the extra work required to retrieve it.

    This is like saying I have "access" to the Radiation levels within a Bank data centre. I monitor power, temperature and humidity so I could probably adapt the system to monitor radiation as well. There is a world of difference between that and being conscripted to implement it against my will by Judicial fiat.

    1. Known Hero

      Re: Apple has access to the information, they are just refusing access..

      Devils advocate: It wouldn't be unreasonable to ask you to monitor radiation if your company produces/or works with it though.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: Apple has access to the information, they are just refusing access..

        Radiation's a bad example because it definitely will become a public health risk if generated with abandon, the tools to monitor it are widely commercially available and any laws that require radiation monitoring are debated and agreed by elected representatives and either phased in for existing operators or known in advance to newcomers.

        In this case we're talking about the work phone of a person that physically destroyed their personal phone and computer, that the FBI already has the iCloud backups of, and a request that Apple be compelled to engineer a new product.

        So a lot of us are arguing that there's a negligible probability that there will be something on the work phone that the criminal decided not to destroy, that's helpful, but which isn't considered a sufficiently important category of data for the OS automatically to back up; and that in any case a court should not be able to compel the creation of a new product using the current legislation.

      2. Lysenko

        Re: Apple has access to the information, they are just refusing access..

        If we produced ionizing radiation we would of course monitor it because there is Health & Safety legislation that explicitly requires that.

        The key point is "legislation". The elected representatives of the people enacted a law. There is no problem with that. In this case it would be the same as passing a War Powers Act and implementing conscription.

        The problem here is an Executive refusal to tackle the political costs of legislating and trying to use the Judicial branch as a back door.

        1. Bullseyed

          Re: Apple has access to the information, they are just refusing access..

          > The key point is "legislation". The elected representatives of the people enacted a law.

          Said law would be unconstitutional. The Constitution would need to be amended, and then a law passed.

          Also, interesting that the primary defender of rights in the US political system died under suspicious circumstances just prior to this whole event.

  6. TechicallyConfused

    Really?

    Do you really imagine that the NSA or GCHQ can't decrypt an iPhone? I mean REALLY?

    If I were a cynical man I would suggest that this furor is just smoke and mirrors because in fact it only took them a matter of minutes (maybe hours) to crack the phone but they just don't want people (well terrorists) to know that this isn't a safe form of usage/storage anymore. Oh and they probably need a "Legal" way to get at the data so it can be used in a court.

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      I suppose all they would need to do if they really wanted is to pay some engineers from Apple to take up new contracts with the NSA or similar. If they haven't already - it seems like the simplest way to me.

      1. Bullseyed

        Re: Really?

        Former Apple employees could not digitally sign software with a legitimate Apple signature. You don't know what you're talking about here.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Really?

          I'm sure even 99.99% of current Apple employees couldn't digitally sign an iOS update with the legitimate key. I'll bet that signing takes place in a locked room only a few people have access to - bring in a USB drive containing the unsigned OS, plug it in along with one of several identical USB keys containing the signing key that NEVER leave the room to a Mac in that room that's not connected to any network, click a button to sign the OS. I'll bet they require another person present while this happens to insure they don't make a copy of the signing key or sign anything other than what they are supposed to be signing.

          Considering the potential cost to Apple if that signing key escaped (i.e. billions) I'm sure they have a very good process for keeping it secure and the number of people who will ever touch a device that has the actual key on it is in the single digits.

    2. Patrician

      Re: Really?

      No, they have not "cracked" the phone; they also don't want Apple to decrypt it. What they want is for Apple to disable the "10 attempts and the phone wipes it's self thingy" so they can hack it by a brute force attack.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Indeed, and they also want the disabling to limited to that phone, they don't want the code, and they agree to Apple being in control of the whole operation.

        Really, it seems to me that the FBI is being extremely reasonable in their demands, compared to what they could have asked for.

        Of course, we have to agree that, if Apple can create the limitation-erasing product for one phone, Apple can generalize the code. That is most likely the bugbear that everyone is harping on right now. And, given the NSA's attitude of "what we're doing is legal", it is not surprising that people are looking at their copy of the Constitution and seeing a whole portion of the text being erased and that is not making them feel better.

        So, all in all, the FBI's request may be eminently reasonable, but it comes after a literal goatse from the government over individual liberties, so I guess the backlash is deserved on top of being understandable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Indeed, and they also want the disabling to limited to that phone, they don't want the code, and they agree to Apple being in control of the whole operation.

          Really, it seems to me that the FBI is being extremely reasonable in their demands, compared to what they could have asked for.

          So you've fallen for the snow job as well then. The problem is that all the limiting language in the world cannot alter the surrounding legal system that turns decisions that have been validated into precedent.

          There is no conceivable way that a court decision can NOT set precedent because it's the very basis of the US legal system, and that's where the deception hides here.

          Do you really think Apple would not love to help (and they have, by the way)? There are informal channels for assist (Apple has law enforcement support in every country, by the way - I know because I had cause to find out) and as long as it stays within legal and ethical lines I think you would be hard pressed to find any company that would NOT assist. It's also not really a privacy issue as (a) the people using the device are dead and (b) it was a government issued device.

          The sole and single reason this has gone to court is to play for precedent, and the fact that gives is away is that parties that MUST know better because they would otherwise not know the very basics of US law are trying to pretend this exercise will indeed be a one off whereas they damn well know that it will create precedent - you cannot prevent that from happening. It's exactly that attempted camouflage that gives away what is really happening here.

        2. Michael Thibault

          >Really, it seems to me that the FBI is being extremely reasonable in their demands, compared to what they could have asked for.

          Then why back up that request (you say "demand", which is curious, but...) with the full force of law, in the form of a court order, then further back up that with the DoJ directive, with all of this carried out on the public stage? Why? Perhaps because there isn't a means available to go about arranging the transfer that is 'off the books', because it's the law that matters. Which is where appearance and, particularly, precedent come into the picture. Precedent is an unavoidable consequence, and one of the long-view worries, I think, is the scope to which any such precedent will be applied/deemed applicable.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            If the FBI wanted to be "extremely reasonable"

            They would have acceded to Apple's request to file this case under seal. The important factors to consider are why did Apple make that request, and why did the FBI not honor it? Here are the possibilities:

            1) Apple asked for it because they were going to do what the FBI asked but didn't want the bad publicity of helping hack into an iPhone. If so, the only reason for the FBI to not honor the request is because they wanted this case to set a precedent.

            2) Apple asked for it because they were going to fight it and didn't want the bad publicity of "Apple refuses to help stop terrorism". If so, the only reason for the FBI to not honor it is because they wanted to drag Apple publicly through the mud, hoping public pressure would force them to comply, AND probably also to set a precedent.

            Neither is the action of an FBI that wants to be "extremely reasonable".

            This case has the perfect optics to put maximum pressure on Apple. Dead domestic terrorist who is known to be guilty and committed recent act on American soil fresh in people's memory, a phone owned by a government body, and its an iPhone 5c which is easier to bypass in this manner than the 5S/6/6S which may not be possible to bypass in this way due to the secure enclave. Exactly the sort of case you'd choose if you wanted to set a precedent, because it has the maximum chance of success in court.

            Only a fool would believe this case wouldn't set a precedent - whether a court orders Apple to comply or they comply willingly, the next time the FBI wants the same task done for an iPhone Apple is put into the position of arguing "this time its different". The question becomes not "should they help" but "where's the dividing line between where help should or shouldn't be provided". What's the public reaction going to be if they help in this case, but refuse to help in the case of a terror suspect, or child molester suspect? Even in a case of "simple" murder the cops could get the tearful victim's sister on TV saying "why won't Apple help when it might provide my brother in law did it / is innocent, when they have provided this exact same help in other cases?"

            NYC alone reported over 100 cases where they have an iPhone they can't access. Police are going to be lining up at Apple's door with thousands of requests. Can they really deliver a special version of iOS for each one? No, they will have to have a special "hack" version of iOS they install on these phones. Think that will never leak, or Apple's corporate servers are hacker proof?

      2. Silly_Monkey

        Re: Really?

        Finally someone who has understanding or read the court order.

        Weither the spooks have cracked the encryption or will just try brute force. The key bit is that they need apple to disable the protection for such methods to work.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Really? - Key bit they need apple to disable protection for such methods

          Actually, the key bit is that *Apple don't deny they can change the firmware/OS functionality on a locked phone* (hence their ability to change the lock attempt count).

          It has nothing to do with encryption, and shows that those models were in fact built already compromised.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Really? - Key bit they need apple to disable protection for such methods

            No, it shows they can have their firmware upgraded in what is known as "DFU mode" which is a pre-boot state. That's to allow recovery of a bad flash that gets interrupted, or if a new iOS version caused a phone to not be able to fully boot up.

            They may secure that - I wrote a post suggesting a way to use key pairs to authenticate against an iTunes install with the phone unlocked, which the phone would have to be connected to in order to update the OS in DFU mode so it couldn't be done with just any old PC/Mac.

      3. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Really?

        Interesting response to the Apple vs. FBI struggle from Michael Hayden, former Director of the NSA

        He's in favor of Apple and end-to-end encryption in this case. He says that it is best given the NSA's responsibility for U.S. cyber-defense.

        http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/23/us-safer-with-fully-encrypted-phones-former-nsa-cia-chief-michael-hayden.html

        What happened? Hayden was never this reasonable before. Is the NSA suddenly taking its national cyberdefense responsibilities seriously? Considering their zero-day-hoarding/encryption-weakening past, I have a hard time believing that. Does the NSA have some way of cracking iPhone encryption in-house, and we don't know about it? Is this legal fight happening because the FBI is too caught up in DC's "not invented here" agency-vs.-agency politics to ask the NSA to crack the iPhone in question?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      Do you really imagine that the NSA or GCHQ can't decrypt an iPhone? I mean REALLY?

      If I were a cynical man I would suggest that this furor is just smoke and mirrors because in fact it only took them a matter of minutes (maybe hours) to crack the phone but they just don't want people (well terrorists) to know that this isn't a safe form of usage/storage anymore. Oh and they probably need a "Legal" way to get at the data so it can be used in a court.

      I AM a cynical man, and I am more cynical about the fact that the combined agencies (NSA, FBI and any other TLA you can throw at it) are so critically dependent on ONE SINGLE consumer device that they are willing to ruin the entire IT industry of the country for it by ringing a bell they can't unring.

      I think it is time to ask what they have been doing with the billions and billions of taxdollars they scored over the years (more so post 9/11) if the world as we know it will end unless they get access to one single buy-it-off-the-shelf shiny after it was basically mismanaged by one of their own.

      As it is voting time, I think whatever presidential candidate has the courage to ask that in public should have your vote. F*ck the rest - the person who asks this does have at elast an idea of what is really important.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A comment like this from Bill Gates could lead a person to believe that the data slurp from MS to any Government agency asking for data started well before the Windows 10 debacle; of course, many would have this suspicion without Windows 10. Cloud, firmware updates (almost all firmware is proprietary or available only in blobs), weak encryption, devices with cameras and speakers/mics that always on of motion/voice activated, OSes that require Internet access, Apps that require far more access than is reasonably explainable, IoT (with or without proper security seems more of a gimmick than anything else). I know much of that list has little or nothing to do with Government, but all those things create potential points of access and with Governments always grabbing power and the establishment of secret courts I'm leaning toward the trust is gone.

  8. John H Woods

    “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. Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists." -- Coney

    Some thoughtful people already believe that the likelihood that the phone holds such a clue is (possibly vastly) smaller than the likelihood that your current actions will set a master key loose on the land. That is why you are meeting with some resistance.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Think of the terrorists

      It's not like we will be using this on people who don't pick up their dogs poo in 6 months, or "funny" looking people in the lineup at the airport. It's just for terrorists.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      That plus the precedent it would set — the government doesn't need a master key if it can take each individual phone to its OS vendor and compel them to create and install an appropriately version-matched copy, modified as desired. It's one now; next year it'll be a handful; the year after that a couple of dozen...

  9. wx666z
    Megaphone

    Thanks Bill

    Thank you for reminding me that you are still "one of the leading as*hol** of our times" Who cares what you think about anything...

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Thanks Bill

      You care what he says - if you didn't then apathy would have lead you to not read the story and not post about it. You may not like about it but you do care about it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We know how much respect for privacy you have Mr Gates

    You have none. Windows 10 says it all.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: We know how much respect for privacy you have Mr Gates

      What is the connection between Bill Gates and Windows 10? Win10 came literally years after he left MS

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We know how much respect for privacy you have Mr Gates

        What is the connection between Bill Gates and Windows 10? Win10 came literally years after he left MS

        But the references to the NSA keys were discovered when Billy Boy was in charge, so I guess he's just helping old friends. Must have run into them at the golf course.

  11. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Well, I for one am convinced. Bill 640K Gates has a history of steely-eyed prediction on this sort of thing.

    1. Vimes

      Re: Bah!

      Presented without comment.

      http://www.computerworld.com/article/2534312/operating-systems/the--640k--quote-won-t-go-away----but-did-gates-really-say-it-.html

      1. Afernie

        Re: Bah!

        Any time now, jake will appear to inform us all that Bill did say it because he was there and took the time to show him the error of his ways before flying solo down to Cupertino to share the anecdote over brunch with Steve Jobs, the Woz and Tony Stark.

  12. wolfetone Silver badge

    No Surprise

    Windows has been freely accessible for years to everyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Surprise

      Windows has been freely accessible for years to everyone.

      You're right, and the MONSTROUSLY large amounts of Windows computers contributing to botnets everywhere should have been warning enough not to make it worse.

      1. Afernie

        Re: No Surprise

        "You're right, and the MONSTROUSLY large amounts of unpatched Windows computers with weak-to-the-point-of-non-existent or actually non-existent passwords contributing to botnets everywhere should have been warning enough not to make it worse."

        FTFY.

  13. Chris G Silver badge

    1st?

    I remember reading a long time ago that MS provided the US gov with a back door to the OS before the millennium. Tried looking for it but extended searches with this phone are a pain.

    To make the statement that Apple bending to the FBI's will will not create a precedent shows that Bill doesn't know what a precedent is.

    Or he's full of horse shit!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1st?

      No, he's already set the precedent with Windows, a long time ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1st?

      I remember reading a long time ago that MS provided the US gov with a back door to the OS before the millennium.

      to be fair, if you hooked a Win98 machine up to the internet you provided everybody with a backdoor, not just the US gov.

  14. Keith Glass

    And of course. . .

    . . .the minor, unimportant fact is that Apple is a competitor of MicroSloth, (even though Windows Phones were an epic crash and burn. . . .), and as such, BillGatus of Borg isn't exactly what you would call an uninterested, impartial observer here. . .

    1. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: And of course. . .

      Competitor? Really? No not really. Linux is more of a competitor in general than Apple has been for a long time.

  15. matchbx
    Holmes

    Wouldn't set a precedent.....

    REALLY..... one of the main things I've heard during the last week and a half is:

    "It wouldn't be the first time Apple has unlocked one of its devices in response to a government request"

    so take a wild guess what would happen next..

    Bill can take his "Wouldn't set a precedent" and shove it up his arse.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wouldn't set a precedent.....

      Of course it would set a precedent. Apple have the ability to bypass the security on this version of their phone so it would be a can of worms for them to try to oppose any future court orders regardless of how trivial the alleged case. The thing most people are ignoring is that the newer phones have the secure enclave implemented in hardware so they will no longer (in theory) be able to bypass these security measures. The precedent then becomes moot as it no longer applies.

      However the fact that a court order previously could be used get get access to a terrorists phone but on later phones thanks to the secure enclave it can no longer be done will give the government a poster child for implementing back doors.

      I's a no win situation: on one hand it promotes a governments ability to spy on its (and other countries) people, but on the other hand it raises public support for a super rich corporation positioning itself above the law.

  16. SimonC

    Flawed

    His ribbon analogy is flawed...

    Imagine the banks tied a ribbon around *every* disk drive, and the FBI want them to hand over a pair of scissors that will cut *every* ribbon. They promise only to use it on this one specific ribbon though... Honest guv...

    1. Known Hero

      Re: Flawed

      actually if you read up on the technical side of what they are asking for is that the version would be valid only with this specific phone, not every single phone.

      Source - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/17/apple_iphone_5c/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        @Hero

        And the government always lives up to its word? I think not. Another thing, from that same article; you can also read that the FBI already has access to the device backups. The time span between those and the data on the phone is merely a couple of weeks.

        Sure, a lot of things can happen in a few weeks, but I can't help wonder if it isn't a little short for setting up ties between fanatic religious organizations.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Flawed

        actually if you read up on the technical side of what they are asking for is that the version would be valid only with this specific phone, not every single phone.

        Well, yes, if you were to only look at the court order and ignore the larger game at play here. If it was possible to execute the court order in absolute isolation, the limiting language in the court order would apply, and then it would be that one iPhone 5C with whatever ALLEGED flaw (let's not forget that Apple has not made any statements as to the feasibility of what is proposed yet) should be somehow broken by Apple, and we assume here that Apple would have that capability.

        The problem is that this is simply not how US law works and worse, the judge as well as the FBI damn well know this. The very fact that said parties are thus trying to bamboozle the public (and politicians) at large with such a fairly transparent attempt at diversion is alarming in itself, and is a hint of what is really behind this.

        The "terrorist" aspect is but camouflage, and it's not even really about Apple either.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. hplasm Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Bill Gates.

    Knows little about phones, and even less about security.

  18. Hud Dunlap
    Mushroom

    I caught part of the interview.

    He kept talking about whether or not you can trust the Government. He said something about the abuses we have had were back in the J. Edgar Hoover era.

    I walked out at that point.

  19. Hud Dunlap
    Facepalm

    What about the password reset?

    I keep seeing on different sites that either the county or FBI reset the password. Well if you reset the password you know what the new one is. Well who reset it?

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/fbi-san-bernardino-shooters-icloud-password-reset-consent/story?id=37093031

    1. Tessier-Ashpool

      Re: What about the password reset?

      Different thing. The password that they reset was an iCloud account password. It's not the same thing as the phone's unlock passcode.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: What about the password reset?

      That's very interesting, isn't it? The FBI had the phone and only had to ask the owner, San Bernardino County, for the password to its backed up data.

      They did, and got access to to the phone's iCloud backup, what could be easier?

      Buuuut, the phone may have data that was entered after the last backup... no prob, update the backup.

      Buuuut, they can't do that, since the FBI very cleverly changed the backup password first, and now the phone can't sync with it's stored data... Smooth move Exlax!

      So now they insist that Apple give them a gateway into the phone's data that they locked themselves out of.

      And the $64,000 question is; Is the FBI actually that incompetent that they locked themselves out of the data they wanted and need help getting it (highly probable), or are they acting for some TLA that wants Apple to build a way to get into secured iPhones in the future without pestering the court system (also highly probable)?

  20. NotMyRealName

    Satya who?

    Bill Gates still has links to Microsoft: he's 'technology advisor' to Satya Nadella. I guess that Microsoft has good reasons (i.e. financial ones) not to upset the government too much, hence Gates's statement. And surely it has made more impact with him as the spokesman? (The current CEO's name is not that well-known outside the tech community.)

  21. sisk Silver badge

    Bill has not done due diligence on this case. If he had he'd know that Apple has already handed over the data that they have and that what the FBI is asking is for a tool to crack the phone's encryption. Anyone who's been paying attention knows that the US government cannot be trusted to use such a tool appropriately.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Please, please read the information out there.

      ...what the FBI is asking is for a tool to crack the phone's encryption

      Apple are NOT being asked to crack the encryption, nor to provide the FBI with a tool to do the same. They're being asked to develop and install a modified version of the OS that will only work on that specific handset. It should prevent the phone destroying the encryption key after 10 incorrect attempts (rendering the information on it useless), and will also allow repeated attempts to brute force the unlock code without applying increasing delays between each attempt. The software can remain in Apple's possession, and there is no demand to provide it to the FBI to use.

      1. sisk Silver badge

        In what way is what you just described not a tool to crack the encryption? And if you think it'll work only on one specific phone you're kidding yourself. If you think that the FBI won't make damned sure that they have a copy, legally or not, then you've not been paying attention as far back as when Kevin Mitnick's exploits.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In what way is what you just described not a tool to crack the encryption?

          For starters, they've not been asked to provide a tool. They're being asked to modify the software on that particular phone. Unlocking the phone using the correct PIN will provide access to the data contained in a non-encrypted format. That's not the same as cracking the encryption.

          As an analogy, imagine you have a safe containing important documents. Inside the safe is also a bomb that detonates if you try an incorrect combination 10 times, destroying the contents. In this instance what's being asked is for the manufacturer to make a modification to the lock mechanism on that particular safe to allow someone to try unlimited combinations until they can unlock the safe without detonating the bomb. That's very different from asking the manufacturer to make you a tool to break open the safe and defuse the bomb for you.

          And if you think it'll work only on one specific phone you're kidding yourself. If you think that the FBI won't make damned sure that they have a copy, legally or not, then you've not been paying attention as far back as when Kevin Mitnick's exploits.

          In order to comply, Apple need to build software to work on a particular IMEI and S/N. They've also been told that they can have the phone at their own location to work on it. The software will also have to be cryptographically signed by Apple in order for the phone to accept it. Even if they happened to leave a copy on a USB drive lying around, the FBI can't alter the binary file to work on a different phone without messing up the signature. Heck, even if they left a full copy of the source code lying around, without Apple's crypto keys to sign it, the FBI can't compile and use it.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            "In order to comply with this order, Apple need to build software to work on a particular IMEI and S/N of this phone"

            Fixed it for you.

            Next week its a new IMEI and S/N, week after a few dozen more... Come Xmas holidays Apple are being told by the courts to avoid excess costs and just do a tool for to gov that handles every confiscated phone in the USA. Meanwhile in Russia and China they are lining up for the same service...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Quite possibly, hence why Apple is taking the stance it is. Bend the rules for one, and you end up doing it for everyone.

              The point I've been making is not that Apple are wrong for making a stand (and I personally agree with their point of view), rather the ill informed comments being made claiming that they're being forced to break their own encryption (they're absolutely not, and if their encryption is as good as it should be, they can't) and are making a backdoor for the FBI (again, they're not, and have used their security credentials as a selling point recently).

              This scenario wouldn't even be possible on a later iPhones due to the secure enclave, so even if the FBI were to somehow coerce Apple into making a tool to speed up the process of brute force guessing a handset pin, the percentage of devices it could work on is getting smaller all the time.

          2. Vic

            In order to comply, Apple need to build software to work on a particular IMEI and S/N

            You're completely ignoring the precedence argument.

            As soon as Apple creates this specific, unit-locked piece of software, they open the floodgates to having to create more specific, unit-locked pieces of software whenever a government agency wants one. We've already heard about another 175 phones waiting for the same treatment. There will be more...

            Vic.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems it would set a precedent despite bills reassurances

    "Justice Department Seeks to Force Apple to Extract Data From About 12 Other iPhones"

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-seeks-to-force-apple-to-extract-data-from-about-12-other-iphones-1456202213

    Sorry WSJ has a paywall

    non paywall links

    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/justice-department-seeks-to-force-apple-to-extract-data-from-about-12-other-iphones-20160222-01356

    So once one phone is unlocked Apple will be hit with demands for every phone the police want to go fishing on

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It seems it would set a precedent despite bills reassurances

      At least if the demands are made through a (fairly?) open court system, we the populace can see what they are up to.

      Perhaps if Apple go along with this one, the precedent will be set that Yes, Apple should disable the 10 strikes element on individual phones but also Yes, it must be done by getting a court order first.

      Thereafter it's for the electorate to decide if the number of instances of FBI going for court order is excessive and should be curtailed by their choice of representatives.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: It seems it would set a precedent despite bills reassurances

        -- At least if the demands are made through a (fairly?) open court system, we the populace can see what they are up to. --

        What about through alternatives like a National Security Letter, or simply kidnapping someone personally important to Tim Cook or one of the other people who have access to the signing key.

        Of course, it could be that Apple has a form of "Secret Sharing"

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_sharing

        in place, to raise the number of people who would need to be compromised, but then it could be that a candidate for U.S. President who is both sane and honest will make it through the primaries. Not holding my breath.

  23. sisk Silver badge

    Well there it is.

    Bill had earned quite a bit of my respect for his humanitarian works since handing over the reigns to Microsoft. He just lost most of it.

    First, if he were actually paying attention he'd know that Apple handed over everything they actually had (basically what was in that phone's iCloud account) months ago. What the FBI is asking for IS a backdoor.

    Second the fact that he says Apple should give it to them indicates to me that he would. Which, given that he still has his fingers in Microsofts business, is scary.

  24. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    So what are his views on MS Dublin vs DOJ?

    Was it just a sideshow and are MS going to back down?

  25. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I guess Gates doesn't see...

    That what Apple is being asked to do will cause potentially billions of dollars in damage to their sales and brand worldwide, as device users around the world look for a more secure solution once Apple knuckles under.

    Then again, maybe Gates does see this, and considers it an opportunity to take some share from Apple in mobile phone OS and tablets, by bringing Apple down to MS' level in those markets.

  26. td0s

    Bill Gates wants Mass Debate

    over backdoors

  27. All names Taken
    Alien

    Getting soft in me old age?

    Hmmm ... lots of negativity there then?

    Mr G is allowed to have his opinion (no?)

    Others are allowed to be swayed one way or the other or not at all by Mr G's opinion (no?)

    Rules, especially human ones, are not set in stone, burned by hand of deity or fall from some superior being (no?)

    So perhaps wider discussion is a gooder better thing (no?)

    Perhaps if one nation (US) decides the Apple should do the crack on demand does it mean all nations have to follow blindly or sightedly (no?)

    And apologies about all of the (no?) (no?)

    1. richardalm

      Re: Getting soft in me old age?

      Wiser (yes) softer (no).

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Getting soft in me old age?

      "Mr G is allowed to have his opinion?"

      Of course he is. And we're allowed our opinions about his, mostly our opinions vary between "he's talking bollocks" and "he's out to damage someone he still sees as a competitor".

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can still get Blackphones, bit pricey but if you're bothered about privacy it may be worth it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Blackphones

      Until they are banned of course.

  29. J J Carter Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Just must remember when...

    That explains why there were NSA keys embeeded in W95!

  30. RonWheeler

    Of course it would be a precedent

    Every thin end of the wedge measure (censorship to stop hardcore porn / terrorists etc etc) uses precisely this tactic

    And the law works on precedents.

  31. JB77

    Are you on crack?

    No offense Bill Gates, but seriously, ... are you on crack?

    You might be okay with giving away YOUR privacy but I'm not giving away mine.

    Do I trust the FBI ? Hell, no. They screwed up the phone to begin with. Now they want Tim Cook to "fix it for them".

    "Just this one time, PLEASE, PLEASE, pretty PLEASE..." (begs)

    Go away Bill. Smoke your pipe..

    JB

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't matter...

    ...if it sets a precedent or not. The reality is that unlocking the phone of a criminal/murder is mandatory and appropriate. Those people who were murdered have far more legitimate rights than the perps who lose their rights when they decide to commit crimes.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: It doesn't matter...

      "The reality is that unlocking the phone of a criminal/murder is mandatory and appropriate."

      True that... But in this case the phone belongs to a third party, that did give permission and voluntarily turned over the password they had (The suspect's employer turned over the phone's iCloud password).

      Then the FBI changed the phone's password so it could no longer sync to its backup, and locked up any data more recent than the last update in the phone.

      And now they want Apple to unfix the fix the FBI themselves used to lock the data away from themselves so that Apple'd have to fix it.

      Does look a trifle odd, eh?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It doesn't matter...

      It's not about the legitimate rights of the criminals. It's about the legitimate rights of everyone else anywhere who owns any sort of device on which they might need to keep personally or professionally private data. Because that's what the FBI is putting at risk. They're out to create a legal precedent which would be employed in any legal system that follows common law principles and a practical precedent anywhere else where a bit of government leaning might be applied.

      And please don't trot out the "nothing to hide" tale. Not unless you're prepared to publish all your bank access details, all your other online access details, your credit card details and so forth (and remember also that in most if not all cases you're contractually obliged to keep those confidential. Of course you've got stuff which you quite properly need to hide.

  33. Wilseus

    This would never work

    He said it would be "worth having a debate" as to the extent to which people are comfortable about how information the government has."

    This would never work because most members of the public don't really understand the issues. In this particular case they want the government to protect them from the baddies but at the same time they aren't comfortable about the government knowing too much information about people (i.e them.)

    People want to have their cake and eat it: they want more money pumped into the NHS but don't want to pay more tax. They want free services from the likes of Google but they don't want their details used for the targeted advertising that pays for it. I'm not sure there's a common ground in any of these areas that most people would be happy with.

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The FBI is playing a blinder and Joe Public is lapping it up.

    This is not about whether Apple is good or Bad ... whatever that means.

    This is not about supporting the victims of the Terrorists.

    This is not about the FBI being reasonable.

    This is not about whether Apple is a friend of their Customers.

    This is not about whether Apple is a Patriot.

    The US Govt, through its agencies, does not want encryption out in the 'Real' world.

    It cannot roll back the clock so wants any encryption to be breakable if it must exist..

    All attempts to date to 'encourage' cooperation in this agenda has been unsuccessful.

    The events of San Bernardino have given them an opportunity to use public outrage as a lever to get what they want out of Apple. This not only gives them a public win but a demonstrable scenario where forced cooperation by a vendor has worked.

    It does not matter what the FBI agrees to in this case as the real objective is to have a proven winning legal argument which can be used again and again.

    If Apple does what is asked they WILL be asked to do it again, not only by the US but also many countries around the world.

    Apple will have no winning argument possible and the bounds of the original legal argument will be pushed further and further by every new request.

    (It is how the law works everywhere, you take old legal decisions and push and stretch the bounds with new arguments and cases.)

    In terms of whether the FBI or other agencies will get access to the methods to crack the encryption on other phones/tablets, I would be very surprised if they did not 'acquire' whatever they needed by old tried and tested methods as usually practised on the enemies of the US of A. :)

    It is a thin end of the wedge.

    What works against Apple will work against anyone else.

    If Apple cannot win with their resources, it will be a lost cause for all other vendors.

    I support Apple only because the legal precedence is a worrying one for our future privacy.

    This is yet another instance where the general apathy towards Privacy and associated rights will be used against the public to their own detriment and long-term loss.

    It is already being reported that the likelihood of any information of use being on the phone is small, yet the FBI has started a very public fight with Apple.

    It does not make sense unless the greater fight is beyond the phone itself.

    If Apple lose this fight you will be the one who pays, even if you have no Apple devices !!!

    P.S.

    Mr Gates, I suspect simply could not resist stirring the pot and making things worse for Apple if he could. (Old rivalries and all that!)

    A wounded Apple would push some business towards MS as well as the other competitors.

    Such an opportunity to stir-up anti-Apple sentiment would be very hard to resist. :)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Considering that Windows 10 will turn a computer into the ultimate snooping machine, it is no wonder why Gates stands against Apple. If Apple wins, that would be a declaration that people have some rights to privacy and that could put Microsoft's snooping in danger.

  37. Captain Badmouth
    Paris Hilton

    Bill Gates

    Microshaft former CEO in " I'm not worried about backdoors" shocker.

    Paris: not worried about backdoors either.

  38. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No precedent huh ?

    How about the 12 other phones the FBI would like unlocked ?

  39. ecarlseen

    Is it just me...

    ... or is Bill Gates just a monocle and Persian cat away from being a Bond Villain at this point?

  40. This post has been deleted by its author

  41. azaks

    free PR for apple

    Seems like all of silicon valley is trying to out do each other in being the "peoples privacy champion".

    Asking apple to unlock a very specific phone owned by a murderer on their own premises and giving away no capability for the FBI to unlock others seems reasonable to me. The court has approved this request, and the data may be useful in preventing future crimes. Holding out is just another PR stunt from the king of marketing...

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