PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s common to see lines form outside Apple stores when a new device hits shelves. But gatherings planned today in Center City, Cherry Hill, and at dozens of the company’s other retail locations across the country have to do with one older iPhone — over which the feds have taken Apple to court.
“More than 40 cities are participating to give people an opportunity to have their voices heard, and to push back against the false narrative that this is a debate between some lofty ideal of privacy and our national security,” says Evan Greer with Fight For The Future, the group organizing the rallies at 5:30 p.m. at Apple’s 16th and Walnut Street location and other stores.
The FBI frames this fight as ‘about the victims’ of the San Bernardino attack. Apple is refusing to comply with a judge’s order that it defeat the self-destruct feature on the shooter’s iPhone so investigators can try to get at the data inside.
“It’s really important that everyone understands that this is not just about one single phone,” Greer says, “but actually what the government’s requesting here would undermine the safety and security of millions of people.”
The FBI says there’s no need to hyperventilate: what they’re asking Apple to do would not make for a ‘backdoor’ into all iPhones; investigators need Apple’s help to bypass a feature on the phone of the San Bernardino shooter’s 5C, so whatever data is there won’t disappear as the feds work to crack the PIN.
“I think a lot of politicians don’t really understand the technology enough to understand what it is that the FBI’s requesting here and how dangerous it is,” he says. “It’s not just smartphone data but also the encryption protecting power plants, airports, and hospitals that would be put at risk.”
The FBI calls it a ‘limited’ request that would have zero implications for any other device.