Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has disputed reports that he sides with the FBI when it comes to whether Apple should hack an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.
In an interview with Bloomberg Business Tuesday, the tech mogul said he was disappointed in articles that inaccurately reference a sit-down he had with The Financial Times.
In the interview, the former Microsoft CEO appeared to support the FBI’s argument that creating a special operating system, allowing investigators to hack the iPhone, would not automatically undermine encryption for all iPhone users.
READ MORE: US Justice Department looking at orders to force Apple to hack other iPhones, report
Gates told Bloomberg the articles published referencing that interview do not accurately reflect his stance on the debate.
“I’m hoping now we can have the discussion. I do believe there are sets of safeguards where the government shouldn’t have to be completely blind,” he said.
Gates added when it comes to this particular case, he believes the courts should decide whether or not Apple should be forced to hack the phone.
“These issues will be decided in Congress – the Patriot Act, how that gets evolved – you don’t want to just take the minute after a terrorist event and swing in that direction, nor do you want to completely swing away from government access when you get some abuse being revealed,” Gates said.
“You want to strike that balance.”
Last week a U.S. magistrate judge ordered Apple to help the FBI hack into an encrypted iPhone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people in San Bernardino last December.
The ruling would require Apple to create special software enabling the FBI to bypass the built-in self-destruct feature that erases the phone’s data after too many unsuccessful passcode attempts.
And while the Justice Department is only asking the company to help unlock Farook’s iPhone in particular, it’s unclear if the software could be adapted to hack other devices.
READ MORE: Why the FBI can’t hack an iPhone without help from Apple
“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,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in an open letter to customers.
Microsoft has not officially commented on its stance on the matter. However, as The Financial Times pointed out, the Reform Government Surveillance organization – which the company is a member of – has released a statement saying companies should not be required to build backdoors into their products.