Grassroots groups of protesters have gathered at Apple stores in cities across the U.S. to show their support for Apple in the company’s fight against the FBI over the unlocking of a terrorist’s iPhone.
The protesters are participants of the “Don’t Break Our Phones” rallies spearheaded by the privacy advocacy group Fight for the Future.
“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.”
Beginning at 5:30 p.m. local time today, Feb. 23, the rallies see the brandishing of giant iPhone banners that read, “FBI: Don’t Break Our Phones” and “Secure Phones Save Lives.” Participants’ iPhones and iPads are also flashed with glowing protest signs saying the same.
Rallies are taking place at Apple stores in more than 30 cities across the U.S., including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Palo Alto. In Washington, D.C., protesters are gathered at the FBI’s headquarters. Outside the U.S., there have been rallies at Apple stores in at least Exeter in the U.K, and Munich in Germany. Visit the rallies’ official website for more details and images.
The saga began exactly a week ago when Apple was ordered by a California judge to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone 5c owned by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters who killed 14 people during the terrorist attack at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health in December.
In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook published a public letter on the company’s site strongly opposing the order and arguing that the FBI’s demand “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.” And yesterday, Apple added a detailed question and answer page to its site to further discuss the issue.
A number of other tech company executives have voiced their support for Apple. Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of both the CIA and the NSA (the only person to ever head both agencies), has also sided with Apple, saying that the U.S. is a “safer, more secure” nation without back doors.
In a recent survey of 1,002 American adults conducted by the Pew Research Center, it appears, though, that a slight majority of folks think Apple should go ahead and unlock the iPhone in question. Just more than half, 51 percent, of those surveyed think Apple should unlock the iPhone. Only 38 percent disagree, while 11 percent of respondents didn’t offer an opinion on the matter.