New York: A group of activists gathered here outside Apple’s flagship store to protest against the FBI’s attempt to install software with backdoors in all of Apple’s iPhones.
With posters saying “Don’t break our phones” and displaying cell phone images saying “No entry” in hands, the high-spirited protesters braved drizzling rain and bitter wind outside the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We are standing in solidarity with Apple and their decision to oppose the FBI’s scheme to put backdoors to the iPhones,” said Jeff Lyon, chief technical officer of the activist group Fight for the Future.
The protest occurred against the background of a major feud between the country’s law enforcement agencies and Apple over its security measures on iPhones.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion last Friday to compel Apple to comply with a court order to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation access data on an iPhone owned by the terrorist shooter of San Bernadino, California.
The FBI has in its possession of the iPhone 5C used by Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, but couldn’t access the data on the phone without a passcode. The couple shot dead 14 people in December 2015 in San Bernadino and were later killed by police.
In response to FBI’s request, a federal judge ordered Apple to create a software that bypasses a security feature that erases data in the iPhone after 10 unsuccessful unlocking attempts.
“This case sets a dangerous precedent for the FBI to get a court to order Apple to push new software on all their phones that creates a government backdoor,” said protester David Moore.
In a statement released last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to comply with the court order, saying that “in the wrong hands, this software – which does not exist today – would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession,” which would in turn compromise the data security of all Apple’s customers.
“Once you break one phone, you break all the phones. All our phones are breakable using the same technology,” said protester Theo Chino.