Bill Gates Blasts U.S. Policies on Privacy, Immigration
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates criticized U.S. policies on data privacy and immigration Friday in a speech to the Transforming India through Technology conference in New Delhi, India.
Microsoft will work with India on a national computer identity-card project, he said. He plans to meet with minister Nandan Nilekani, who helped build technology company Infosys.
Gates said the U.S. should have a national identity card or at least let some businesses, like health care, centralize information on individuals. "It has always come back to the idea that 'The computer knows too much about you,'" he said.
He noted that doctors cannot share records about patients and said a U.S. ban on virtual doctor visits "wastes a lot of money."
Gates also urged U.S. immigration exceptions for "smart people." He said Microsoft has created "a lot of jobs" in Canada because immigrants are allowed to work if offered a high-paying job.
The U.S. has an H-1B visa program that allows immigrants to enter for three years if they have advanced degrees or special skills. The visas can be renewed, but Congress has been critical of the program as displacing American workers. Many H-1B workers are from India, and Gates said stricter limits could jeopardize economic growth.
The gathering of government officials and information-technology executives was organized by Microsoft and The National Association of Software and Services Companies. Gates is expected to receive the Indira Gandhi International Peace Award from Indian President Prathiba Patil on Saturday.
Gates told the meeting, "Over the next decade, the entire way we interact" with computers will change. He predicted an Internet used for more than Web pages, computer voice recognition, and cell phones able to recognize people around them.