Privacy advocates rally at Apple stores in Tampa, elsewhere

Apple iPhone / privacy
Apple iPhone. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News.

According to the Associated Press, “Apple says it’s challenging government efforts to overcome encryption on at least 14 devices nationwide in addition to the phone of a San Bernardino, California, shooter. Lawyers told a New York federal magistrate judge [Tuesday] that Apple is opposing relinquishing information on at least 15 devices in” other court cases. And a series of rallies is being held Tuesday across the country and here in the Tampa Bay area by privacy advocates to support Apple’s case. Evan Greer is campaign director of Fight for the Future.

“The Fight for the Future is a digital rights non-profit that works to protect the internet as a free and open platform for freedom of expression and social change. Which is sort of a fancy way of saying we try to stop governments and corporations from screwing up the internet that we all love so much.

And these rallies that we have planned [Tuesday] are spreading like wildfire. They’re now planned in more than 40 cities and there at Apple stores, protesting the FBI’s attempts to essentially a backdoor into the iPhone. Which is something that, not only threatens our civil liberties and privacy, but, will actually make us all less safe.”

You say that will make people less safe, but, of course the government’s argument is that they need this to catch terrorists. Why are you right and they’re wrong on this?

“The reality is it seems that a lot of folks in Washington D.C. just don’t understand the technology here. Encryption and security technology is what protects our airports ,our hospitals ,our water-treatment facilities, our power plants. If you set a precedent that the government can force private companies to degrade their defenses, essentially break their products and make them less safe, that’s when you have wide-spread repercussions and could lead to serious loss of life. It could actually make us more vulnerable to the types of attacks that the government claims they’re trying to prevent here.”

The type of break-in that they’re trying to do, this backdoor, it could just be where one phone could be examined one time and then the next time this would happen, they would need a court order. Do think that that’s enough safe guards?

“Unfortunately, that’s just simply not the case. That’s not how this technology works. The FBI is asking Apple to write software to circumvent one of their most important security features. Once that software is created, anyone who can find it, can use that back door to access not only people’s personal information but, also all of the critical and important information that’s safeguarded on an iPhone. The people who protect those same facilities that I was talking about, power plants and water-treatment facilities and airports, many of them use iPhones. If someone were to gain access to this confidential information because of this backdoor, it could be used to threaten our national security and public safety.”

“I think anyone can see how terrifying it would be to have their phone fall into the hands of jealous x-lovers or an abusive authority figure and you’d be extremely grateful for the security that Apple is providing here. For exactly the type of protection that the FBI is trying to break. Not just for one phone, but, for millions of people’s phones around the world. I think that’s incredibly important for people to understand. That this is an issue that isn’t just about one phone, it’s not just about privacy, it’s about all of our phones safety and security.”

There are two in the Tampa Bay area: at International Plaza in Tampa and at Brandon Town Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m.


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