apple, mobitel (bolja).jpg
Photograph: Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns, used under CC BY

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said the US government should be allowed to hack into an Apple iPhone belonging to a gunman who carried out a deadly shooting in California.

Gates' view sets him at odds with those of bosses at technology firms Google, WhatsApp and Facebook who have expressed support for Apple's refusal to create a new way - referred to by some as a "back door" - into the iPhone's security system.

In an interview with the Financial Times published Tuesday, Gates denied that the request would set a precedent.

"No one's talking about a back door," Gates said. "They [the FBI] are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case," Gates said, echoing an argument put forward by the US authorities.

A federal judge last week ordered Apple to help the FBI crack the encryption on the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.

The FBI believes there may be data encrypted on the device that could help their investigation into the December shootings.

Apple boss Tim Cook refused the order, and has received support from bosses at fellow internet firms.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai agreed that "forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users' privacy."

"Could be a troubling precedent," he wrote on Twitter.

WhatsApp chief executive Jan Koum agreed that "we must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake."

Speaking at a technology conference on Monday, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said he was "pretty sympathetic" to Apple's concerns. “I don’t think building back doors is the way to go," he was quoted as saying in the New York Times.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the FBI is trying to force Apple to give it access to about a dozen iPhones in unrelated cases. The cases do not involve terrorism charges, the newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying.

Related stories

Google, WhatsApp back Apple in encryption fight with FBI

Apple: Court must reverse "dangerous" FBI order

Apple and FBI to face off in court

Apple, FBI headed for showdown over San Bernardino encryption

WhatsApp encrypts its entire service

Apple case delayed as FBI tries its own iPhone hack

Latest news

SpaceX plans to fly two passengers around moon, NASA involved

SpaceX is planning to fly two private citizens around the moon next year, the first manned trip to the Earth's only natural satellite in more than four decades, the private company said Monday.

Key congressman has 'no evidence' of Trump contacts with Russia

The chairman of the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee said he is not aware of any evidence of improper contacts between Russian officials and Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Gambia's new President Barrow fires army chief

Gambia's new President Adama Barrow has sacked army chief Ousman Badjie, replacing him with a presidential military aide.

Star investor Buffett takes a bigger bite of Apple, doubling shares

Stock market guru Warren Buffett on Monday revealed that his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway doubled its share of iPhone producer Apple stocks last month.

Minister: Erdogan not welcome in Austria for referendum campaign

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not come to Austria to campaign to Turkish citizens living there ahead of a constitutional reform referendum in his country, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Monday.

Migrant group: Britain hits 'new low' by deporting grandmother

Britain has hit a "new low" by deporting a grandmother from north-eastern England to Singapore, a migrants' rights group said on Monday.

Turkish judge remands German reporter in custody

A Turkish judge remanded German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in custody Monday, according to newspaper Die Welt, sparking strong condemnation from the German government and rights organizations.

1.4 million people without water after deadly floods in Chile

More than 1.4 million people were without drinking water in the Chilean capital of Santiago on Monday following catastrophic flooding that left at least three people dead.

Serbia PM says no snap parliamentary election

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that an early parliamentary election would not be held simultaneously with a presidential vote, although the state leadership had announced such a possibility.  

Trump touts 'security budget' with 10-per-cent defence spending hike

US President Donald Trump says he will present a "public security and national security budget" that hikes military spending by 54 billion dollars or about 10 per cent.

National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen fined for Roma comments

The founder of France's far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had a 5,000-euro (5,300-dollar) fine for inciting racial hatred and discrimination confirmed on appeal on Monday.

Croatia-Montenegro relations example for region, says minister

After meeting Croatian Ambassador Veselko Grubisic in Podgorica on Monday, Montenegrin Defence Minister Predrag Boskovic said that relations between Croatia and Montenegro were very good and could serve as an example to other countries in the region.

Over 31,000 South Sudanese flee fighting and hunger to Sudan

Fleeing escalating fighting and famine in South Sudan, over 31,000 people have arrived in neighbouring Sudan so far this year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Monday.

SDP urges gov't to pull statement making radical turn in human rights

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Monday called on the government to take a position on the Croatian foreign policy's turn in human rights, which it said was initiated by Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, and to withdraw a Foreign Ministry statement on that sent to Brussels.

Police says photoshopped photo of Milanka Opacic motivated by hate

An investigation has proved that a photograph showing Parliament Deputy Speaker Milanka Opacic wearing a shirt with four Cyrillic letters "S" (standing for "only unity saves the Serb", a popular motto and slogan in Serbia and among Serb nationalists) is a photomontage and the police suspect that publishing and distributing the said photo has been motivated by hate and intolerance.

Finance Ministry says didn't analyse HEP's readiness for IPO

The Ministry of Finance on Monday announced that it had not analysed the justification or the readiness of power provider Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) for an initial public offering with regard to a possible acquisition of Hungarian energy company MOL's stake in Croatia's INA.

Berlin confirms murder of German hostage in the Philippines

Berlin confirmed on Monday the murder of a German hostage by the militant Islamist group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines with Chancellor Angela Merkel condemning the killing as "barbaric" and "abominable".

Syrian refugees arrive in Italy with help from Christian groups

A group of 50 Syrian refugees, more than half of them children, landed in Italy early Monday, entering the country on humanitarian visas obtained with the help of a lay Catholic NGO, Protestant organizations and the Italian government.