Bill Gates thinks Apple should help unlock an iPhone for the FBI

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Bill Gates Backs FBI iPhone Hack Request

Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates believes Apple should help unlock an iPhone for the FBI.

Gates is the latest powerful tech leader to voice his opinions on the heated security debate that has arisen after Apple announced it wasn't going to assist the FBI hack into an iPhone 5C that belonged to a suspected terrorist.

The Microsoft cofounder told The Financial Times on Monday that Apple should comply with the FBI, dismissing Cook's claims that it will set a wider precedent of law enforcement agencies hacking into citizen's phones.

"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.

"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.'"

See more of Gates through the years:

41 PHOTOS
Bill Gates through the years
See Gallery
Bill Gates thinks Apple should help unlock an iPhone for the FBI

Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates

(Doug Wilson/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his girlfriend Jill Bonnett. 

(Doug Wilson/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates Holding a CD-ROM

(Doug Wilson/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates

(Doug Wilson/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Microsoft president Bill Gates demonstrates Microsoft's Windows 95 program from his automobile prior to a press conference in Paris 04 September. Gates was also to meet 500 top computer executives as part of his campaign to launch the company's new software.

(Michel GANGN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates visits an expo previewing Windows XP October 24, 2001 in New York City. The Windows XP operating system goes on sale worldwide October 25.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates testifies at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into whether the Microsoft computer empire is a monopoly that buries the competition.

(Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Bill Gates holds baby girl Cecil Massango during his visit to the Manhica Health Research Centre in Mozambique September 21, 2003. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced three grants totalling 168 million dollars to fight malaria, a disease that due to increased drug resistance, is on the rise in Africa for the first time in 20 years, killing more than one million people annually.

(REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya)

Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect at Microsoft, talks to reporters as Microsoft announced the general availability of the new Microsoft Office System, October 21, 2003 in New York City. "The new Office System is a major leap forward for information workers," said Gates, "It makes information work more productive and more profitable by offering innovative new ways to communicate, to find and share information, and to manage complex projects."

(REUTERS/Jeff Christensen)

Former US President Bill Clinton, left, speaks as Bill Gates, chairman, Microsoft Corp. looks on during a session on the G-8 and Africa during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 27, 2005.

(Photo by Adam Berry/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates delivers the keynote speech at the fourteenth RSA conference at the Moscone Center February 15, 2005 in San Francisco, California. Gates spoke about internet security and new technology that can recognize spyware that might infiltrate a computer.

(Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek and Microsoft CEO Bill Gates attend a press conference for the launch of the new Swatch line 'Paparazzi' by Swatch and Microsoft on October 20, 2004 in New York City.

(Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates smiles during a news conference in Madrid November 19, 2004. Gates signed a technology agreement with the Madrid regional government.

(REUTERS/Andrea Comas)

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates (L) shakes hands with singer Justin Timberlake during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas January 4, 2006. Gates took the wraps off its next-generation operating system known as Windows Vista on Wednesday, displaying features aimed at positioning the software giant as the entertainment hub for a future of digitally connected homes.

(REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Bill Gates attends the Director's Brunch during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival a Sundance Resort on January 23, 2010 in Park City, Utah.

(Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images)

Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates (L) interacts with a villager in Aulali village, in Khagaria district of the eastern Indian state of Bihar, May 12, 2010. Gates is on a day-long visit to the state.

(REUTERS/Stringer)

Bill Gates, the coo-founder and former chief executive of Microsoft, celebrates his 60th birthday. He was born on October 28, 1955. --- In photo: Bill Gates during a press conference in Berlin, on January 29, 2013. 

 (Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Microsoft founder Bill Gates makes a speech after receiving the Millennium Bambi during the Bambi 2013 media awards ceremony in Berlin November 14, 2013. The annual Bambi awards honours celebrities from the world of entertainment, literature, sports and politics.

(REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz)

Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates delivers the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on the eve of Mandela Day under the theme "Living Together" in his lecture at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, July 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Bill Gates, the co-Founder of the Microsoft company and co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation makes a statement after his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Presidential Palace on June 27, 2016 in Paris, France. Bill Gates mentioned in a short statement after his meeting with French President Francois Hollande that France was a great asset in the fight against AIDS.

(Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Billionaire Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, center, arrives at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson will be nominated as President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state, setting up a potential confirmation battle with U.S. lawmakers who have questioned the oilman's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Melinda and Bill Gates during a ceremony in the White House East Room in Washington, U.S., November 22, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Chairman and Chief Software Architect for Microsoft Corporation Bill Gates delivers the opening keynote address for the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the Las Vegas Hilton. Gates provided an overview of the latest devices and outlined the company's vision for the future by previewing upcoming products like Windows Vista.

(Photo by Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images)

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates (R) talks with Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) (L) after testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee March 7, 2007 in Washington, DC. Gates called for more government spending in education and training, especially in high school math and science. He called high schools in their current form a barrier to success in the digital age.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

United States President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and daughter Barbara Bush and former Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates attend the National Aquatics Center on Day 3 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 11, 2008 in Beijing, China.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Ludacris watch the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team play against the Canadian National Team during the State Farm USA Basketball Challenge on July 25, 2008 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft speaks in Hong Kong on August 12, 2008. Gates was giving a speech at Microsoft Research Asia 10th Anniversary Innovation Forum.

(MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images)

Bill Gates and director Pablo Larcuen attend the Director's Brunch during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival a Sundance Resort on January 23, 2010 in Park City, Utah.

(Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images)

Bill Gates tours and interacts with students in the engineering lab at Science Leadership Academy (SLA) prior to the 2010 Franklin Institute Awards held at The Franklin Institute on April 29, 2010 in Philadelphia City.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates (R) shakes hands with France Finance and Economy Minister Christine Lagarde as he leaves the Elysee Palalce in Paris on April 4, 2011, after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Gates is in visit to France for his foundation's Living Proof Project to highlight successes of US-funded global health initiatives.

(LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates poses on April 4, 2011 in Paris, as part of his campaign 'Living Proof' for the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.

(MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Bill Gates founder of Microsoft and Bono, singer of U2 meet with President Francois Hollande of France at the Elys Palace to discuss humanitarian projects to fight poverty around the world and support economic development in poor countries.

(Photo by John van Hasselt/Corbis via Getty Images)

French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Bill Gates, the co-Founder of the Microsoft company and co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Fondation, at the Elysee Presidential Palace, in Paris, France, on April 1, 2014.

(ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, addresses the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards' inaugural Teaching and Learning Conference in Washington,DC on March 14, 2014.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON

Episode 0199

Pictured: (l-r) Bill Gates during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on January 21, 2015 

(Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Lin Manuel Miranda and Bill Gates pose backstage at the hit musical 'Hamilton' on Broadway at The Richard Rogers Theater on October 11, 2015 in New York City.

(Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

Bill Gates, the co-Founder of the Microsoft company and co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation visits and speaks at the Solidays festival on June 26, 2015 in Paris, France. Bill Gates visited the 17th edition of the Solidays music festival, dedicated to the fight against AIDS.

(Photo by Francois Pauletto/Corbis via Getty Images)

Bill Gates attends the official opening of the Barberini Museum on January 20, 2017 in Potsdam, Germany. The Barberini, patronized by billionaire Hasso Plattner, features works by Monet, Renoir and Caillebotte among others.

(Photo by Axel Schmidt - Pool/Getty Images)

Bill Gates, billionaire and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, gestures as he speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 47th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 17 - 20.

(Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

A US judge last week ordered Apple to assist the FBI in its attempt to access encrypted data on the iPhone of Syed Farook, one of the two San Bernardino shooters. But Apple argues doing so would create a dangerous precedent and make all iPhone users less safe. CEO Tim Cook argues that the move "would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect."

Silicon Valley executives including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai have all endorsed Cook's decision. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is yet to comment on the matter but the Reform Government Surveillance organisation, of which Microsoft is a member, opposes the order.

Cook wrote an open letter last week saying he would fight the FBI over its demand to build what Apple alleges is a backdoor in the iPhone.

The FBI wants Apple to remove the limit on the number of times the phone's passcode can be tried before the data on the phone is automatically erased. It also wants Apple to modify its iOS operating system so passcodes can be input electronically. Apple argues that this workaround would later be open to abuse.

Read more reaction to the security debate:

23 PHOTOS
FBI battles with Apple over San Bernardino shooters' iPhone, social reax
See Gallery
Bill Gates thinks Apple should help unlock an iPhone for the FBI
This is the most important tech case in a decade. Silence means @google picked a side, but it's not the public's. https://t.co/mi5irJcr25
I stand with Apple on privacy and FBI demand. It's not just marketing for @tim_cook and wasn't for Jobs. https://t.co/cZ1DOEs2RA
4/5 But that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data. Could be a troubling precedent
Apple has no problem trying to gather every bit of our personal data for marketing but obligated to protect privacy of dead mass murderers?
Any communications/tech CEO that isn't standing with Apple against the FBI is basically admitting that they've already been compromised.
Journalists: Crucial details in the @FBI v. #Apple case are being obscured by officials. Skepticism here is fair: https://t.co/lEVEvOxcNm
.@FBI “We want to get inside the iPhone no matter what.” @tim_cook “Not a chance.” FBI: “What if we made an album?” Tim: “I’m listening…”
Refusing access to #FBI shows terrorists they can get around FBI. Let's be clear: Apple is doing a service for our adversaries! #AppleVsFBI
"A man who is willing to trade security for liberty deserves neither." - Benjamin Franklin #AppleVsFBI #currentevents
The @FBI is creating a world where citizens rely on #Apple to defend their rights, rather than the other way around. https://t.co/vdjB6CuB7k
#AppleVsFBI is so much bigger than people realize. Keeping a close eye on this one
Speech can only be free when it is protected. —@mcuban #AppleVsFBI https://t.co/m41wKR31ET https://t.co/ng71CmYjeS
#Apple #AppleVsFBI Thanks @tim_cook for taking a stand https://t.co/tgWprQESyK https://t.co/qmFhovqIOl
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. Way to go #Apple. Born free staying free. #AppleVsFBI
Steve Jobs would've literally laughed in the FBI's face about them wanting Apple to create a backdoor to hack into a phone. #AppleVsFBI
Every candidate needs a mandatory 1 day crash course on encryption before poisoning public understanding of issue #GOPTownHall #AppleVsFBI
Keeping us safe by chipping away at our ability to preserve our right to privacy is the first step toward not being safe. @FBI #AppleVsFBI
So the company that put an entire U2 album onto my iPhone without asking is now all about privacy? #AppleVsFBI
There are no exceptions, we should never go down the slope of sacrificing privacy for the sake of security. #AppleVsFBI
Apple is right -- no matter how justified it may seem, turning over that data would set a terrible precedence. #ApplevsFBI
Thank you Tim Cook for making public a conflict that every citizen of the U.S. should be paying attention to. #AppleVsFBI
We should be less worried about apple and more worried about how the FBI can't get passed a locked iPhone #AppleVsFBI
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone," Cook's letter read. "But that's simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable."

FBI Director James Comey published a blog post on the specialist legal site Lawfare on Sunday titled "We Could Not Look the Survivors in the Eye if We Did Not Follow this Lead."

"The San Bernardino litigation isn't about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message," wrote Comey in the blog. "It is about the victims and justice."

NOW WATCH: We showed real résumés to an expert and the feedback was brutal

See Also:

SEE ALSO: A Wharton professor shares 3 science-backed strategies for raising highly creative kids

SEE ALSO: Steve Jobs was one of the greatest procrastinators ever — here's how that helped him become so successful

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners