Will You Protest the FBI at Apple Stores on Tuesday?
A digital rights organization is organizing protests at Apple Stores around the U.S. on Tuesday.
Fight for the Future, which has been involved in several online protests in the past, has organized more than 40 protests outside Apple (AAPL) Stores on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. local time. The organization says protesters will carry “iPhone-shaped banners reading ‘Don’t Break Our iPhones.'” Protests will also be held at Apple Stores in New York City, Los Angeles, and other major cities. The protesters are also planning to rally outside FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“People are rallying at Apple stores because giving the government easier access to our data, also gives everyone else, including terrorists, thieves and stalkers, easier access to our data—making all of us less safe, not more safe,” Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “The government’s unconstitutional attack on our digital security could put millions of people in danger, so it’s critically important that we support any fight to keep our most sensitive personal, medical, legal and financial information protected.”
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The rallies will come exactly a week after Apple was ordered by a U.S. magistrate judge to provide software to the FBI that would allow the agency to crack the passcode on the iPhone used by one of the attackers in the tragic San Bernardino terrorist attacks. Apple denied the request, saying that it would represent a breach in privacy for all users.
“The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in the open letter last week. “Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.”
Soon after, several technology giants, including serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban, messaging app WhatsApp, and Google (GOOG), came out in support of Apple’s stance. Privacy advocates around the world, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, also stood by Apple.
For more, read: The U.S. vs. Apple: Does the FBI Have a Case?
Meanwhile, the FBI has held strong, arguing that it’s simply trying to access data on a single device and has no interest in violating the privacy of any other users. Indeed, the agency’s director James Comey said in his own open letter on Sunday that the FBI is trying to do its job.
“We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly. That’s it,” he said. “We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land. I hope thoughtful people will take the time to understand that.”
Comey asked Americans to “take a deep breath and stop saying the world is ending.”
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His comments, however, may have been too little, too late. Fight for the Future held an impromptu protest in San Francisco last week, and was able to get “dozens of people” to turn out. Now with a week’s notice, the organization is hoping for even better turn outs across the U.S. Fight for the Future says it will add more protests leading up to Tuesday.
“The rallies are being organized in a grassroots manner by individuals who agree to host an event in their town,” the organization said. “Fight for the Future then provides those members with banners and support with recruitment. More events are being added all the time, so check back before Tuesday if you don’t see one in your area yet.”
Here’s a list of all of the protest locations.