News / USA

    Tech Giants Weigh In on Apple-FBI Dispute

    FILE - An iPhone in Washington, Feb. 17, 2016.
    FILE - An iPhone in Washington, Feb. 17, 2016.
    VOA News

    Giants of the technology industry have begun adding their voices to the dispute between Apple and the U.S. government, with Microsoft founder Bill Gates seemingly differing from the pack.

    While many tech executives have voiced their full support for Apple CEO Tim Cook, Gates took a decidedly different view of the issue Tuesday.

    During an interview with The Financial Times, Gates disputed concerns voiced by Cook that creating software to break into the phone of one of the killers in the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting would become a "master key" for access to any iPhone.  "They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case," he said.

    His comments put him at odds with other top names in Silicon Valley including Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who have stepped forward in support of Apple.

    Bill Gates talks to reporters about the 2016 annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York, Feb. 22, 2016.
    Bill Gates talks to reporters about the 2016 annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York, Feb. 22, 2016.

    Later in the day, Gates told Bloomberg news that the courts will ultimately make the decision in the Apple case. "In the meantime, that gives us this opportunity to get the discussion, and these issues will be decided in Congress."

    Planned Protests

    Meanwhile, supporters of Apple planned to protest in more than 40 cities. A digital rights group called Fight for the Future is organizing the events at Apple stores in places such as New York, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Hong Kong and London.  It says it is critically important to support efforts to keep personal information safe, and that devices will become more vulnerable if the government wins its legal battle with Apple.

    U.S. authorities want Apple's help to unlock a phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who, along with his wife Tafsheen Malik, killed 14 people last year in San Bernardino, California.

    Watch video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke:

    Outcome in Apple Phone Case to Become Important Precedenti
    X
    February 24, 2016 5:28 AM
    Microsoft founder Bill Gates is a rare hi-tech executive siding with the U.S. government in its standoff with Apple. The company that makes the iPhone is refusing to help FBI investigators access encrypted data in smartphones used by two terrorists in December's San Bernardino, California attack that killed 14 people. The information could provide clues for possible other terror plots. Zlatica Hoke reports the outcome in this case will set an important precedent for the future.

    Apple has refused, saying the FBI is asking for what amounts to a backdoor around the company's security measures, and that, in the wrong hands, in the furture that software would make countless Apple users vulnerable to searches of their phones.

    A federal magistrate ordered Apple to help the FBI last week, and the government filed a motion asking the court to force Apple to comply.  The order says Apple must help authorities bypass an auto-erase feature that wipes out data when 10 incorrect passwords are entered.  The FBI does not know Farook's password, and needs the auto-erase feature disabled so it can repeatedly try password combinations to find the right one.

    Apple has until Friday to file its opposition to the government's motion, and a hearing in the case is scheduled for March 22.&

    FILE - These then-new Apple iPhone 5c models were on display in at Tokyo store, Sept. 20, 2013. A 5c is at the center of Apple's battle with the FBI over efforts to break the company's proprietary auto-destruct security system.
    FILE - These then-new Apple iPhone 5c models were on display in at Tokyo store, Sept. 20, 2013. A 5c is at the center of Apple's battle with the FBI over efforts to break the company's proprietary auto-destruct security system.

    The Pew Research Center released a survey Monday of more than 1,000 people with 51 percent of them saying Apple should unlock the iPhone and 38 percent siding with the company.  Eleven percent had no opinion.

    A lawyer representing some relatives of the 14 people killed in San Bernardino said he would soon file a statement supporting the judge's order requiring Apple to help authorities.

    Apple is continuing its fight against the order, with chief executive Tim Cook on Monday telling the firm's customers that the U.S. government's demands are "chilling."

    In an open letter to millions of its customers, Cook said the technology giant has "no sympathy for terrorists."  But he said building a tool to access Farook's phone would leave Apple users vulnerable to searches of their financial and health records and monitoring of their location and the pictures they take.

    "No reasonable person would find that acceptable," Cook said.

    Apple Security Dispute Raises Controversyi
    X
    February 18, 2016 5:19 AM
    Technology company Apple is resisting a U.S. government order to unlock its own encrypted software for an investigation into a recent terrorist attack, and is calling for a public discussion on the matter. The issue poses a dilemma many Americans face as to what is more important: individual privacy or national security. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.

    'About victims and justice'

    FBI Director James Comey insisted the government is not trying to set any precedent for future cases or "set a master key loose on the land," which Cook contends is exactly what would happen.

    Comey said "it is about the victims and justice," and that the tensions between privacy and safety should not be resolved by corporations or the FBI, but rather the American people.

    Cook said that if the FBI wins the case and forces Apple to create a backdoor into its iPhones, law enforcement agents from throughout the U.S. "have already said they have hundreds of iPhones they want Apple to unlock."

    He said Apple believes "the only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn't abused and doesn't fall into the wrong hands is to never create it."  Cook also suggested the formation of a "commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy and personal freedoms,” adding that Apple would take part in such an effort.

    The case is the latest to showcase the frustrations of law enforcement officials who complain that newer encryption methods used by companies like Apple make it harder to carry out investigations involving the use of technology by criminal suspects.  Apple strengthened encryption of its phones in 2014 amid increased public concern about digital privacy.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady Trip to Africa to Highlight Educational Obstacles Girls Face

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora