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Bill Gates: I assume my phone's not being tapped

In some fascinating comments about privacy and security, the Microsoft co-founder admits that he does use e-mail to send confidential messages. And he expects a level of security from his gadgets.

Fusion TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

"It's not as if government surveillance is absolutely bad in all cases."

Oh, that's a relief. With all the revelations over the last months, I'd begun to wonder.

Thankfully, with these words (and others), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates tried to offer some reassurance to those thinking of moving to some distant private island as a form of escape.

Speaking to Jorge Ramos on Fusion TV, Gates said he believed it was possible to find a balance between security and privacy, though he didn't offer what that magical formula might be.

However, he does seem to believe that his own telecommunications enjoy a semblance of privacy.

He said: "Well certainly when I'm calling somebody on the phone, I don't assume that's being tapped into."

Some might find this faith excessive, especially when it is said that world leaders are regularly being spied upon by operatives from even (supposedly) friendly governments.

But what about his e-mails? Surely he has some fancy encryption that keep them from falling into the hands of a deadly rival -- like, say, Google.

"When I'm sending e-mails, I'm willing to talk about confidential matters, what salary, who we're going to promote, what we're going to do in things. So there is a basic sense that whoever is providing that technology has to make sure it's secure," he said.

Some might imagine that this confidence is a touch extreme. Or, perhaps, merely the words of a technology company chairman who wants people to believe that everything is just fine.

Ultimately, we tend to just get on with it and hope that our use of technology doesn't one day have difficult consequences.

One could hardly call that security.