Protests planned as Government demands iPhone backdoor from Apple

fight for the future

News that the United States Government is demanding that Apple, Inc. build a backdoor into the iPhone has prompted an unprecedented response, including the first of many rallies to come from concerned iPhone users and civil liberties supporters.

The original news came via a message to customers from Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who explained that the demand had come about following the investigation into the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Cook explained that while Apple has assisted the investigation in every way it could, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants more:

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: 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.

Civil liberties

The push by the Government, through the FBI, hasn’t gone unnoticed, with a protest movement being launched by digital rights group Fight For The Future.

A first, warm up rally was held outside the Apple Store in San Francisco Wednesday (picutred) with a call for countrywide protests to be held outside of Apple stores at 5:30pm on Tuesday, February 23rd.

Protesters are being encouraged to bring signs, but will also have the option of loading a “Protest Sign” on their phone using Fight for the Future’s ProtestSign.org, which rather interestingly can turn any phone, tablet, or laptop into a light-up protest sign.

“Governments have been frothing at the mouth hoping for an opportunity to pressure companies like Apple into building backdoors into their products to enable more sweeping surveillance. It’s shameful that they’re exploiting the tragedy in San Bernardino to push that agenda,” Fight for the Future Campaign Director Evan Greer said in a statement sent to SiliconANGLE. “Security experts agree that any weakening or circumvention of security features on a phone puts everyone in danger. Encryption is what protects our airports, power plants, and hospitals. If the FBI succeeds in forcing Apple to help them hack into an iPhone, it will open the floodgates and set a dangerous precedent that will inevitably lead to more suffering and loss of life.”

A list of planned protests can be found on Facebook here.

Image credit: Fight for the Future (with permission)