Satya Nadella says encryption backdoors are a ‘terrible idea’

    The observations are a whole lot milder than the ones Microsoft had expressed during the San Bernardino case in 2016 when Microsoft had while heartedly supported Apple’s stance
    By HT CORRESPONDENT
    | Updated on Jan 14 2020, 12:57 PM IST
    In a meeting with reporters on Monday in NewYork, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about his company’s opposition to encryption backdoors. He, however, did express “tentative” support for legal and technical solutions in the future.
    In a meeting with reporters on Monday in NewYork, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about his company’s opposition to encryption backdoors. He, however, did express “tentative” support for legal and technical solutions in the future. (Ramesh Pathania/HT)
    In a meeting with reporters on Monday in NewYork, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about his company’s opposition to encryption backdoors. He, however, did express “tentative” support for legal and technical solutions in the future.
    In a meeting with reporters on Monday in NewYork, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about his company’s opposition to encryption backdoors. He, however, did express “tentative” support for legal and technical solutions in the future. (Ramesh Pathania/HT)

    In a meeting with reporters on Monday in New York, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about his company's opposition to encryption backdoors. He, however, did express "tentative" support for legal and technical solutions in the future.

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    "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 said.

    And on those lines, Nadella "expressed support for key escrow systems" - something researchers have proposed earlier in separate versions.

    The issue of backdoor encryption systems first became of point of controversy in 2016 when Apple was asked to unlock an iPhone that belonged to the San Bernardino shooter. Apple initially refused and the heated legal battle end in a stalemate. The recent shootings at the naval base at Pensacola has a potential to restart the fight.

    The attack at Pensacola was commited by a Saudi national who was undergoing flight training with the US Navy. FBI has labeled it a terrorist act and that has resulted in 21 other Saudi trainees to being 'disenrolled' from the program.

    Both the phones that have been linked to the assailant are iPhones and therefore subject to Apple's device encryption, ergo, inaccessible to investigators.

    Nadella stopped short of "simply saying companies could never provide data under such circumstances, or that Apple shouldn't provide a jailbroken iOS modification under the circumstances". "We can't take hard positions on all sides... [but if they're] asking me for a backdoor, I'll say no," Nadella said adding that, "My hope is that in our democracy these are the things that arrive at legislative solutions."

    The observations are a whole lot milder than the ones Microsoft had expressed during the San Bernardino case in 2016 when Microsoft had while heartedly supported Apple's stance and had also joined Apple in opposing some of the encryption bills pushed at the beginning of the trail.

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    First Published Date: 14 Jan, 12:56 PM IST
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