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Steve Wozniak on an Apple backdoor: 'bad people are going to find their way to it'

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In a Reddit Ask Me Anything Q&A, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has added more of his thoughts to the debate stirred by Apple and the FBI. As the government and Wozniak's former company continue their legal battle over an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, Wozniak writes in defense of Apple and "the side of personal liberties."

He says — although does not elaborate fully on the specifics — that he twice "wrote things that could have been viruses," and later tossed "every bit of source code." If Apple is ever forced to use less secure code, he also writes, echoing security arguments made by others, "bad people are going to find their way to it, very likely."

Wozniak spoke earlier this month about the dispute between Apple and the FBI in an interview with Conan O'Brien, where he also brought up writing code that could have been used as a virus.

Here are Wozniak's comments on the topic, in full.

All through my time with personal computers from the start, I developed an attitude that things like movement towards newer, better technologies - like the Macintosh computer, like the touchscreen of the iPhone - that these were making the human more important than the technology. We did not have to modify our ways of living. So the human became very important to me. And how do you represent what humanity is?

You know what, I have things in my head, some very special people in my life that I don't talk about, that mean so much to me from the past. Those little things that I keep in my head are my little secrets. It's a part of my important world, my whole essence of my being. I also believe in honesty. If you tell somebody, "I am not snooping on you," or, "I am giving you some level of privacy; I will not look in your drawers," then you should keep your word and be honest. And I always try to avoid being a snoop myself, and it's rare in time that we can look back and say, "How should humans be treated?" Not, "How can the police run everything?"

I was brought up in a time when communist Russia under Stalin was thought to be, everybody is spied on, everybody is looked into, every little thing can get you secretly thrown into prison. And, no. We had our Bill of Rights. And it's just dear to me. The Bill of Rights says some bad people won't do certain bad things because we're protecting humans to live as humans.

So, I come from the side of personal liberties. But there are also other problems. Twice in my life I wrote things that could have been viruses. I threw away every bit of source code. I just got a chill inside. These are dangerous, dangerous things, and if some code gets written in an Apple product that lets people in, bad people are going to find their way to it, very likely.