Growing group of folks at the SF Apple Store. Showing support of Apple's decision to protect encryption for users. pic.twitter.com/UKIwf5qYPK— Doctor Popular (@DocPop) February 18, 2016
Less than a week after supporters first gathered in front of downtown San Francisco's Apple store to call attention to the company's refusal to build what they say amounts to a "backdoor" into iPhones for the FBI, they intend to hold yet another rally in support of the tech giant. The non-profit group Fight for the Future is helping to organize 46 such events across the U.S. — all set for 5:30 p.m. local time. The San Francisco rally will once again take place in front of the Apple store.
As you likely recall, Apple CEO Tim Cook has argued that developing a custom operating system for the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters puts the security of all iPhones at risk — an argument that the FBI has publicly derided. Regardless, Cook and Apple have won the support of both Google CEO Sundar Pichai and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, suggesting that there is some merit to his claim.
The FBI's argument that this is only about one iPhone, and that other phones would not be at risk, is perhaps muddied by the recent revelation that the government has made 12 requests of Apple to extra data from locked phones since September of last year — requests that, so far, Apple has yet to comply with. As such, supporters fear that this effort is truly about setting a legal precedent for forcing tech companies to work around security features on their products.
"Breaking the security features of our iPhones won't just hurt our privacy," writes the organizers of tonight's rallies, "it puts all of our safety at risk. Once a backdoor is built, there's no way to ensure it will only be used by the government and law enforcement, and it will eventually leak either by malicious hackers, foreign governments, terrorists, or thieves and stalkers to use our data against us."