News

Rallies planned at Apple stores against order for software to help terrorism investigation

Gatherings to take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at flagship stores including in Palo Alto

Groups are expected to gather at Apple stores in the Bay Area Tuesday evening, Feb. 23, as part of worldwide rallies against an order for the tech company to develop software to help an FBI terrorism investigation.

The rallies will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the flagship store in San Francisco and other locations in Palo Alto, Corte Madera and Santa Rosa organized by Fight For The Future, a nonprofit calling for digital rights protections.

Tuesday's gatherings mark one week since the FBI obtained a court order for Apple to write software that would unlock an iPhone owned by a suspect in a December shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 people.

If the FBI receives the software, it would be an attack on civil liberties and introduce a backdoor that would affect tens of millions of people if the technology ends up in the wrong hands, Fight For The Future campaign manager Charlie Furman said.

The software would bypass Apple's security protocols currently in place and undermining the encryption would threaten national security, Furman said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook posted a letter last Wednesday on the company's website that opposed complying with the order, which he said would pose a threat to data security, even if the FBI has good intentions.

"Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control," Cook said.

"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," FBI Director James Comey said in a letter posted online Sunday.

People are expected to rally outside the stores this evening with signs that read "FBI: Don't Break Our Phones" and "Secure Phones Save Lives."

Other rallies are scheduled in more than 50 cities nationwide, including Los Angeles, New York and at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. Supporters outside the U.S. also planned rallies at Apple stores in Hong Kong and Munich, organizers said.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by An-Apple-A-Day-Keeps-The-FBI-Away
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2016 at 4:51 pm

> If the FBI receives the software, it would be an attack on civil liberties
> and introduce a backdoor that would affect tens of millions of people
> if the technology ends up in the wrong hands, Fight For The Future
> campaign manager Charlie Furman said.

Don’t the courts have the power to compel people, and companies, to provide information, or data, that is considered material to criminal investigations? Warrants can be issued to compel companies, and individuals, to open their safes, and to turn over the requested material. So what is fundamentally different here?

Claims that this piece of software, once produced for the FBI, would affect tens of millions of people seems specious. If this particular software is about disabling the data-erase function when too many bad passwords have been entered (or some such)—how would “the wrong hands” get access to tens (or hundreds or billions) of iPhone users’ phones to use this code? Seems like a bit of a logistic nightmare—but maybe someone can explain how it could be done remotely.

And then, in this particular instance, the phone in question was not the private property of the Muslim terrorist, but the San Bernadino local government. Begging the question—do governments claim that the phones are private property, and that the recipients are free to do with them anything that they want—including any number of criminal acts? Would be nice if someone actually asked the San Bernadino government people what they want done—since it is supposed to be their phone, not the murderer’s.

Certainly it seems that those supporting Apple are also supporting the world’s criminal element, claiming that as Apple customers they have as much right to Apple support for their privacy as people who are not engaged in criminal activity.


2 people like this
Posted by An-Apple-A-Day-Keeps-The-FBI-Away
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Last line should have been --

Certainly it seems that those supporting Apple are also supporting the world's criminal element--claiming that Apple customers engaging in criminal activity have as much right to Apple support for their privacy as people who are not engaged in criminal activity.


5 people like this
Posted by Commentator
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 23, 2016 at 5:21 pm

It's all about the Apple mystique. Cook's protests are obviously for public consumption, especially for the Apple Acolytes. But how does anyone know what footsie games Apple is playing with governments under the table?

Many governments forbid selling unbreakable encryption in their jurisdictions. If Apple has compromised for them, (and it surely has, for the money it makes there), what has it already done behind the curtain for the US government?

Who holds Apple accountable on behalf of its customers?


11 people like this
Posted by follow the money
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 23, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Are these rallies being organized by Apple employees? That would reek of a publicity stunt, which may backfire since the latest polls say most Americans are backing the FBI on this one.


5 people like this
Posted by Waving the American flag
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:34 am

People are so ignorant and spoiled here in America. Do they realize that the FBI is protecting us from terrorist plots all the time? ALL the time. The FBI doesn't give a hoot about our activities - they are constantly protecting Americans and terrorists use technology so they need access. So don't worry about the FBI outing you on your infidelity, etcetera. If you aren't breaking the law, the government doesn't care about you. They don't care, which is why we are a capitalist nation which allows people the freedom to be successful if they choose to work hard. Everyone wants to come here; start being grateful and take advantage of your opportunies here. And go vote!


2 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 24, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Apple needs to do this, even if it is an in-house one time action.
It is absurd that Apple is taking the stand it is ... grandstanding
I call it. Just do it on the downlow and don't talk about it. Lying
in the media is acceptable in a case like this. Just notice you
do not hear real mathematicians and programmers talking about
this foolishness.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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