When we last heard from Bill Gates it was in an interview with the Financial Times. He talked about encryption, Apple and the federal government, but it wasn’t really clear what he thought.
Today, in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, Gates attempted to answer a similar question (“What’s your take on the recent FBI/Apple situation?”) but didn’t really clarify anything. Here’s what he said:
I think there needs to be a discussion about when the government should be able to gather information. What if we had never had wiretapping? Also the government needs to talk openly about safeguards. Right now a lot of people don’t think the government has the right checks to make sure information is only used in criminal situations. So this case will be viewed as the start of a discussion. I think very few people take the extreme view that the government should be blind to financial and communication data but very few people think giving the government carte blanche without safeguards makes sense. A lot of countries like the UK and France are also going through this debate. For tech companies there needs to be some consistency including how governments work with each other. The sooner we modernize the laws the better.
Okay! It would appear that Gates thinks there should be a discussion, that people disagree with one another and that this discussion is happening in other countries as well. While that may be his “take” on the situation, it doesn’t really tell us anything other than that Gates desperately wants to avoid pissing anybody off.
Previously, Gates said that the Financial Times write-up of his interview mischaracterized his remarks as outright support for the government in its case against Apple. His clarification didn’t really clarify things, and neither does his reply in today’s AMA.
Though Gates hasn’t jumped in bed with Apple, virtually all of the major companies in Silicon Valley — including Microsoft — have filed court documents that back Cupertino.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.