WASHINGTON: Bill Gates thinks Silicon Valley isn’t worried enough about government regulation. In a new interview, he warned that big tech companies are being reckless in their support for end-to-end encryption, and he made some cryptic comments about Apple.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released its annual letter, and Bill gave a brief interview to Axios this morning that raises more questions than it answers.
When asked about Apple, which refused to help the FBI break in to an iPhone used by a terrorist in San Bernardino, California in 2015, Gates pointed to the companies’ enthusiasm about making financial transactions anonymous and invisible, and said:
“I don’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, adding, “It’s the question of willingness.”
“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 the news website.
Gates continued that the double-edged nature of impactful technology is availability 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, going on to say that “smaller groups” might have access to nuclear weapons, bioterror weapons, or cyberweapons.