Bill Gates is not a fan of Edward Snowden or what he did.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, here’s what he had to say about Snowden:
I think he broke the law, so I certainly wouldn’t characterise him as a hero. If he wanted to raise the issues and stay in the country and engage in civil disobedience or something of that kind, or if he had been careful in terms of what he had released, then it would fit more of the model of “OK, I’m really trying to improve things.” You won’t find much admiration from me.
This has riled up some people. (As one person on Twitter noted, Gates is saying that Snowden broke the law, which is wrong. But his solution was for Snowden to break the law… but with civil disobedience.)
Gates thinks we need to be having a bigger conversation about surveillance from tech companies that track our every move as well as the government.
Earlier in the interview he said, “There’s always been a lot of information about your activities. Every phone number you dial, every credit-card charge you make. It’s long since passed that a typical person doesn’t leave footprints. But we need explicit rules.”
Then later on, he focused on government activity when he said:
Should surveillance be usable for petty crimes like jaywalking or minor drug possession? Or is there a higher threshold for certain information? Those aren’t easy questions. Should the rules be different for U.S. citizens versus non-U.S. citizens? There is the question of terrorist interdiction versus law-enforcement situations. If you think the state is overzealous in any of its activities, even if you agree with its sort of anti-large-scale-terrorism efforts, you might say, “Well, I think the abuse will outweigh the benefits. I’ll just take the risk.” But the people who say that sometimes having this information is valuable — they’re not being very articulate right now.