Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella described backdoors “as a terrible idea” during a discussion with journalists in New York, suggesting that the tech industry should work with the law enforcement to find a way that would make it possible to access encrypted devices as part of criminal investigations.
Nadella’s comments come only a few days after the FBI requested Apple to unlock the iPhones used by the naval base in Pensacola shooter, as the investigators couldn’t access data stored on the devices due to the password protection.
“I do think backdoors are a terrible idea, that is not the way to go about this. We’ve always said we care about these two things: privacy and public safety. We need some legal and technical solution in our democracy to have both of those be priorities,” Nadella was quoted as saying by The Verge.
“I’ll say no”
Apple previously came under fire for its strong encryption in 2015 when the FBI also attempted to break into the iPhones used by the San Bernardino attackers. At that point, Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates sided with the FBI.
“This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information. They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case,” Gates said.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said at that point that breaking into an iPhone would compromise the security of all devices.
Nadella insists that while a backdoor is by no means that right way to go for the law enforcement, other ways of accessing locked devices used by criminals should exist.
“We can’t take hard positions on all sides… [but if they’re] asking me for a backdoor, I’ll say no.” Nadella explained. “My hope is that in our democracy these are the things that arrive at legislative solutions.”
Apple explained last week that it already provided the FBI with all the data in its possession, which includes information stored in the cloud. The company didn’t specifically mention it, but this message suggests it won’t break into the iPhones for the FBI.