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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > New petition calls on White House to support Apple

New petition calls on White House to support Apple
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MacNN Staff
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Feb 18, 2016, 04:52 PM
 
A new petition launched on the We The People government website is asking the White House to "halt efforts that compel Apple and other device makers to create a 'backdoor' for the Government to access citizens data." A controversy erupted when a US magistrate judge on Tuesday ordered Apple to assist the FBI in defeating the security settings on a recovered iPhone 5c taken from the deceased gunman behind the San Bernardino workplace massacre. Though Apple has offered some assistance, it says it will refuse the order to build a "backdoor" to bypassing the iPhone's security.

In a thoughtfully-worded response, Apple CEO Tim Cook laid out the reasons why it could not be of further assistance to the FBI, and why it will challenge the judge's order -- essentially saying that weakening the security of the iPhone involved in this particular case will lead to having no security on any tech device, since a "backdoor" way to make encrypted data accessible to law enforcement also allows it to be accessible to anyone who is determined to obtain it, regardless of intent.



"The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of it's customers. The FBI, is demanding that Apple build a 'backdoor' to bypass digital locks protecting consumer information on Apple's popular iPhones. We the undersigned, oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand," the petition reads. At press time, it had only just been posted, but has already gained 1,500 signatures on its first day, and will need to reach 100,000 signatures before March 18 in order to compel some level of White House response.

The precedent set by Judge Sheri Pym's ill-considered order, if left to stand, could lead to another judge requiring Apple to build in surveillance capability within the iPhone at the pleasure of the government, or access health and financial data on the slightest suspicion of any wrongdoing. Civil rights groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have lined up with Apple's position on this issue, but most other large smartphone makers have opted to keep a low profile, preferring Apple take the heat -- or possibly afraid of endangering government contracts, or existing surveillance cooperation --and have offered only mild support of Apple's position.

MacNN has offered an editorial that summarizes the staff's position on the issue of user privacy and security. We encourage our readers to peruse it and take appropriate action, including contacting your elected representatives and supporting pro-privacy organizations.
     
prl99
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Feb 18, 2016, 05:58 PM
 
I wonder how many macnn readers will actually submit their name, even though it only posts initials but with the city, since these names are now available to the US government and can be used for many things as outlined in their posted documentation. This petition is for something the US government doesn't want to do and it makes me nervous to sign it, even though I want to, because at this moment I don't trust our government to protect my identity. I'd rather have websites like macnn, collect unique IP numbers and submit the total US based IP addresses to the US government so we can keep our names anonymous.
     
bag2retire
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Feb 18, 2016, 06:21 PM
 
If you are worried .. the gov already knows who you are and what you have done. You are living in a dream world. If you do not complain then nothing will happen. This stuff has to end.
     
prl99
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Feb 18, 2016, 06:41 PM
 
@bag. Of course they already know everything about me but until I sign the petition they have no way of knowing I disagree with them. Once they know, the FBI will add this information to my file.

Yes, I know I have a file because I used to work for the government.
     
Charles Martin
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Feb 18, 2016, 10:03 PM
 
If you're seriously worried about that, you haven't been living in a democracy in a long time, and are apparently hesitant to help reinstate one. I'm hoping you're not typical in that view.
Charles Martin
MacNN Editor
     
DiabloConQueso
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Feb 19, 2016, 02:00 AM
 
Your first name, middle initial, last name, address, city, state, and ZIP code are largely already public information, as well as your birth date, parents' names, and place of birth. Anyone can make a trip down to the city courthouse and access that information about you generally, and any related information as well (such as your property value gleaned from your address, and, subsequently, how much you pay in property taxes, what days of the week your trash is collected, etc.).

People confuse "privacy" with "anonymity" all too often. Who you are and where you live is completely public information and people or companies knowing that is not an invasion of your privacy. It's an invasion of your anonymity, of which no one has protection from (except those in witness protection/relocation programs). You simply cannot hide from the public if the public wants to know about you and how to contact you.

"I don't want people to know I signed this petition" is not a privacy issue, it's an anonymity issue, and wanting to remain anonymous while signing a petition is a completely absurd expectation for glaringly obvious reasons.

No one is getting added to any FBI files because they signed a petition. You're not a high-profile individual that will ever experience any repercussions from signing a petition, unless you go announce publicly and make a big stink about signing a petition.
     
chimaera
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Feb 19, 2016, 03:43 AM
 
I signed it. If you never hear from me again, your fears will be confirmed.

Seriously though, get over there and sign it. A silent population is all government needs to do what it pleases. For a necessary cause, don't be afraid to stand up and be counted.
     
   
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