Bill Gates has backed the FBI in its dispute with Apple over gaining access to a locked iPhone 5c linked to the San Bernardino shooting.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook sent a letter to employees yesterday morning, making clear the company’s hardline stance refusing to make software to unlock the phone addressed broader issues, not just a single device.
He was backed by the majority of Silicon Valley’s top executives, including Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and Google head Sundar Pichai.
But the Microsoft founder disagreed.
‘This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information,’ Gates told the Financial Times.
‘They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case.’
A federal judge last week ordered Apple to create new software and take others steps to retrieve data from the locked phone, used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters, who was killed in a gun battle with police.
Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, destroyed their personal phones before carrying out the December 2 shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14 and wounded 22.
The phone at issue is an iPhone 5c issued to Farook by San Bernardino County in his role as a health inspector.
Authorities believe the couple was inspired by the Islamic State.