Bill Gates believes Apple should unlock iPhones at the government's request

Microsoft founder Bill Gates believes companies should allow the government to operate freely if they don't want to be overscrutinised.

"Tech companies have to be careful that they're not trying to think their view is more important than the government's view, or than the government being able to function in some key areas," he told Axios in an interview.

The best books, according to Bill Gates:

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The best books, according to Bill Gates
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The best books, according to Bill Gates

When Breath Becomes Air 

Gates' review: "I’m usually not one for tear-jerkers about death and dying—I didn’t love The Last Lecture or Tuesdays with Morrie. But this book definitely earned my admiration—and tears." 

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I Contain Multitudes 

Gates' review: "In the end, I Contain Multitudes is a healthy corrective. Yong succeeds in his intention to give us a “grander view of life” and does so without falling prey to grand, unifying explanations that are far too simplistic."

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The Heart 

Gates' review: "When Melinda recommended the book to me, she said, “It’s different from most of the books you read.” And that’s true—but part of the reason for that is that it’s different from most books."

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Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow 

Gates' review: "Harari’s new book is as challenging and readable as Sapiens. Rather than looking back, as Sapiens does, it looks to the future. I don’t agree with everything the author has to say, but he has written a thoughtful look at what may be in store for humanity."

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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Gates' review: "Through deeply personal stories like these, Hillbilly Elegy sheds light our nation’s vast cultural divide—a topic that has become far more relevant than Vance ever dreamed when he was writing this book." 

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Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood 

Gates' review: "In fact, Noah’s mother emerges as the real hero of the book. [...] If my mother had one goal, it was to free my mind,” he writes. Like many fans of Noah’s, I am thankful she did."

Photo credit: Amazon 

A Full Life: Reflections At Ninety 

Gates' review: "A Full Life feels timely in an era when the public’s confidence in national political figures and institutions is low. It is true that President Carter made unforced errors during his time in office. But when you read this book and have a chance to meet him in person, you can’t help but conclude that Carter is a brave, thoughtful, disciplined leader who understands the world at a remarkable level and who has improved the lives of billions of people through his advocacy for human rights and global health."

Photo credit: Amazon 

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When interviewer Mike Allen asked about Apple — which denied the FBI access to an iPhone involved in a shooting that took place in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015 — Gates replied that he doesn't share the belief "that even a clear mass-murdering criminal's communication should never be available to the government."

"There's no question of ability [for Apple to unlock an iPhone]," he said, "it's the question of willingness."

Gates is often pictured as an optimist, so Axios asked him if there is anything that scares him. Gates pointed to the double-edged nature of impactful technologies being available to small, independent, unregulated groups.

"There's always the question how much technology is empowering a small group of people to cause damage," he said. "Smaller groups might have access to nuclear weapons, or, even worse, bioterror or cyber [weapons]."

"A small group can have an impact — in the case of nuclear, on millions; and in the case of bio, on billions," he added. "That is scary to me."

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