Gates calls for balance on snooping

young-bill-gatesEnemy of the mosquito and brains behind Microsoft, Sir William Gates (junior) has called for more balance when it comes to government snooping on emails.

Gates said no one needed to be an “absolutist” on either side of the digital privacy debate. Gates said he supports his Vole’s lawsuit against the US government seeking the freedom to tell customers when federal agencies have sought their data.

“There probably are some cases where (the government) should be able to go in covertly and get information about a company’s email. But the position Microsoft is taking in this suit is that it should be extraordinary and it shouldn’t be a matter of course that there is a gag order automatically put in,” he said.

The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Microsoft’s home town of Seattle, argues that the government is violating the U.S. Constitution by preventing Microsoft from notifying thousands of customers about government requests for their emails and other documents, sometimes indefinitely.

Gates said more collaboration between law enforcement and privacy advocates would help determine which “legislative framework … strikes the perfect balance” on government access to private data.

“I don’t think there are any absolutists who think the government should be able to get everything or the government should be able to get nothing,” Gates, 60, said.