Apple vs. FBI: epic fight over privacy and national security
The FBI just got a judge to order Apple to create a backdoor into the iPhone — putting all of our safety at risk by exposing personal information to hackers, criminals, terrorists, and government spies. For more details and background, read the story in Wapo, this analysis by Techdirt, and and the response from Apple.
A digital rights organization is organizing protests at Apple Stores around the U.S. today, Tuesday, Feb. 23rd.
Fight for the Future, which has been involved in several online protests in the past, has organized more than 40 protests outside Apple 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.
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, 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.
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.
– A picture is worth 1,000 government soundbites. Join us at a rally tomorrow near you: http://dontbreakourphones.org
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.”
Rally at your Apple Store to stand up against government backdoors!
Here’s a list of all of the protest locations.
Search for events in your area below:
List of rallies
All events at 5:30pm local time.
- Washington, DC
- New York, NY
- Anchorage, AK
- Phoenix, AZ
- Corte Madera, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Modesto, CA
- Palo Alto, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Santa Monica, CA
- Valencia, CA
- Boulder, CO
- Farmington, CT
- Brandon, FL
- Miami, FL
- Palm Beach Gardens, FL
- Tampa, FL
- Atlanta, GA
- Chicago, IL
- Metairie, LA
- Boston, MA
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Minneapolis, MN
- Ridgeland, MS
- Durham, NC
- Cherry Hill, NJ
- Portland, OR
- Philadelphia, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Houston, TX
- Seattle, WA
- Show up on Tuesday at 5:30pm local time and gather in front of the store holding signs or phones, computers, and tablets open to ProtestSign.org (which turns your device into a handy protest sign!) You can also bring your own handmade sign too! Our basic message is: “FBI: Don’t break our iPhones!” and “Secure Phones Save Lives.”
- Be energetic, but positive! We’re angry that the FBI is trying to make all of us less safe by undermining Apple’s security, but the goal of these events is to educate the public, lawmakers, and the press about WHY this is so dangerous. So let’s channel our anger into action!
- Get some photos of the group with your phones and signs up. Send your photos IMMEDIATELY to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help get them out to the press and on social media. The faster you can send photos the more likely we are to get press attention. You can also post photos on social media with the hashtag #DontBreakOurPhones.
- Today up until the rally: message, call, & text everyone you know to come show support. It really works! Let us know if you’ll have time to do more outreach and we can further assist you.
- Print out this flyer, and hand it to passers-by and media crews.