Microsoft CEO believes backdoors aren't the answer

(Image credit: Mike Moore)

As Apple is once again in the midst of another fight over encryption following a recent shooting at Pensacola naval base, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella weighed in with his thoughts on the encryption question.

During a recent meeting with reporters, Nadella reiterated Microsoft's opposition to encryption backdoors while also expressing support for future legal and technical solutions, saying:

“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.”

However, Microsoft's CEO also expressed support for key escrow systems which researchers have previously proposed versions of.

Encryption debate

The encryption systems Apple uses on its iPhones first became a point of controversy following the 2016 San Bernardino shooting. At that time, the company was urged by law enforcement agencies to help them unlock the shooter's iPhone as it may have contained valuable information.

While Apple ultimately ended up not unlocking the iPhone involved in the 2016 attack, a recent shooting at a naval base in Pensacola has reopened the encryption debate. A Saudi national undergoing flight training with the US Navy killed three people and injured eight in the attack. However, two iPhones linked to the attacker are still protected via Apple's device encryption and remain inaccessible to investigators.

Nadella may be against backdoors but Microsoft's CEO did not say that companies should never provide data under such circumstances. He did make the case for possible legislative solutions when it comes to encryption though, saying:

“We can’t take hard positions on all sides... [but if they’re] asking me for a backdoor, I’ll say no. My hope is that in our democracy these are the things that arrive at legislative solutions.”

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Via The Verge

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.