Digital Rights Advocates Gather for Protest at Apple’s Downtown Frisco Store

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A protest, organized by digital rights group Fight for the Future (FFTF), was held outside Apple’s downtown San Francisco store on Wednesday, in support of Apple’s fight against governments backdoors in its software and devices.

The Guardian:

“It’s not really a protest,” said Cindy Cohn, the executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “We’re here in support of Apple.”

Supporters stood outside of the store on a wet Wednesday evening, holding out cell phones with stickers that read: “I do not consent to the search of this device.” The last-minute demonstration brought an interesting mix of both rookie and veteran protestors.

… Joshua Jendryka, a stagehand, said he was “new to being outwardly political”, but had joined the rally after receiving an email from EFF.

“The government has shown that if you give them a blank check to any kind of power, they will abuse it,” he said.

Another attendee was an old hand at demonstrations. “I should have brought a banner”, said Don Bechler. “I’m the world’s fastest banner maker. I can knock out a banner in 20 minutes.”

The protest was quickly put together in response to the federal government’s demand that Apple assist the FBI in their attempt to decrypt and access information stored on an iPhone 5c used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino mass shooting that killed 14 people.

Earlier on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook published an open letter on the company’s website, explaining why Apple would not comply with a federal court order to assist the feds in accessing the information on the phone, saying:

“The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”

FFTF campaign manager Charlie Furman explained he organized the protest in order to show the privacy’s appreciation of Apple’s stance. “It’s really important that we hold companies accountable when they’re doing something wrong, but stand in support of them when they’re doing something right,” said Furman.

The organization is planning rallies at Apple Stores nationwide to take place next Tuesday. Contact: Holmes Wilson at: 614-465-6371, or: [email protected] for more information. The group has also launched a Facebook event to coordinate the protests here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1645036165762086/

iPhone users and civil liberties supporters will rally outside Apple stores one week from the date of yesterday’s court order, at 5:30pm local time in each city on Tuesday, February 23rd. Protesters will be 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 can turn any phone, tablet, or laptop into a light-up protest sign.

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