Pro-Apple privacy protests are planned for 50 cities around the U.S. today

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Encryption protest San Francisco
Protests will take place at 5.30pm today.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac (via Apple and protestsign.org)

Grassroots protests against the government’s attempts to hack the iPhone are set to take place today in nearly 50 cities around the United States, beginning at 5.30pm local time.

“FBI Director [James] Comey has been repeatedly asking the White House and Congress for a backdoor to encrypted phones for the past year,” privacy advocates Fight for the Future representative Holmes Wilson tells Cult of Mac. “If he says he doesn’t want this kind of access going forward, he’s just lying, and you can see it in the public record.”

According to Wilson, this is why this story is such a big deal — and what Cult of Mac readers can do to get involved:

“This case is about much more than this phone for three reasons,” Wilson continues. “First, if Apple grants this, the FBI will come asking again, perhaps for even more intrusive modifications — like a software update that provides access to the phone’s microphone or camera, for example.

Second, [the iPhone at the center of the current investigation] is technically identical to every other phone of the same model, so whatever Apple does to weaken security on this phone weakens it for hundreds of millions of other Apple customers, as soon as the approach is leaked or discovered.

Finally, if Apple gives special powers to the U.S. government, every government on the planet will demand them too. China, for example, has been asking for a backdoor to access encrypted phones and was only nearly blocked by industry groups and pressure from the Obama administration. Nearly every phone is made there. Do we want China to have backdoor access to the iPhone of every journalist, CEO and pro-democracy activist on the planet?”

Rallies are set to take place at Apple Stores today in the below locations. Visit the Fight for the Future website for more information about what steps you can take to show your support.

Albuquerque, NM
Anchorage, AK
Ann Arbor, MI
Atlanta, GA
Boston, MA
Boulder, CO
Brandon, FL
Cherry Hill, NJ
Chicago, IL
Colorado Springs, CO
Corte Madera, CA
Durham, NC
Exeter, UK
Farmington, CT
Glendale, WI
Hong Kong, China
Houston, TX
Huntington Station, NY
London, UK
Los Angeles, CA
Metairie, LA
Miami Beach, FL
Minneapolis, MN
Modesto, CA
Munich, Germany
New York, NY
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Palo Alto, CA
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Phoenix, AZ
Ridgeland, MS
Sacramento, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Santa Rosa, CA
Scottsdale, AZ
Seattle, WA
South Windsor, CT
Spokane Valley
Tampa, FL
Thousand Oaks, CA
Valencia, CA
Washington, DC

You can also read more about the protest in question — which promises to be one of the biggest tech stories of 2016 — courtesy of our handy FAQ page here.

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