In his second 'Ask Me Anything' thread on Reddit, Bill Gates weighed in on the NSA, saying the government's oversight should be "more open." His response was diplomatic, but left no doubt that he was in favor of privacy while being a big believer in technology.
After posting a video touching on a couple common topics (below), Gates began answering questions at 1 p.m. ET.
One of the top questions was how Gates feels about the NSA's surveillance programs, and it was the first he answered.
"This is a complex issue," Gates wrote. "There is a role for the government to try to stop crime and terrorism but it will have to be more open."
"We need to have trust in the way information is protected and gathered," said Gates, echoing other technologists who have suggested that the tools we use must evolve to be trustworthy and secure.
Here are some highlights from the dozens of questions he answered:
On coming back to Microsoft: "I was thrilled Satya asked me to pitch in to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovation. My time will be about 2/3 Foundation and 1/3 Microsoft. I will focus on product work mostly."
On the most important political issues: "Education would be the top issue since it is key to individual opportunity and to the country as a whole and we are not doing as well as other countries. After that I would say immigration since the injustice of the current system is incredible."
He parted by posing his own question: "How can we help more people understand that foreign aid isn’t 25% or even 10% of the U.S. federal budget, but less than 1%?"
First published February 10 2014, 11:10 AM
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer at NBC News; he started his role in April of 2013. Coldewey is responsible for original reporting on a number of tech topics, such as photography, biotechnology, and Internet policy.
Coldewey joined NBCNews.com from TechCrunch, where he was an editor covering a similarly wide variety of content and industries. His personal website is coldewey.cc.