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Apple fans take iPhone unlock protest to FBI HQ

Rallies in support of world's richest company will be held in 40 cities around the world

As the Apple versus the FBI row rumbles on, demonstrators will take to the streets today in support of the American corporation.

"People are rallying at Apple stores because what the FBI is demanding of Apple is going to make all of us less safe, not more safe," said Evan Greer, campaign director of activist hive Fight for the Future.

"Encryption and security technology is what protects our hospitals, our airports, our water treatment facilities. If we allow the government to start forcing private companies to punch holes in these critical defenses, it's not a question of if those backdoors will be exploited by those wishing to do harm, but when."

There are demonstrations planned outside Apple stores in 40 cities around the world. In the US, the list includes New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Boston, and Palo Alto. There will also be a rally outside Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California – and a protest against the US government in front of the FBI HQ in Washington DC.

The assemblies are planned for 1730 local time wherever they are held. Demonstrators will carry 10-foot iPhone banners emblazoned with the slogan "Don't break my phone." If last week's San Francisco protests were anything to go by, they should be good-natured affairs and have the support of internet rights groups like the EFF and others.

"Apple's stand today will help keep security threats at bay," said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress. "But we will all be less safe if the FBI succeeds at its politically expedient, but shortsighted, approach. Our devices will become more vulnerable and the sensitive data they hold will be more accessible to people who want it for malicious purposes."

Quite how effective the protests will be remains to be seen. It's unlikely that the FBI can be swayed unless enough people turn out – and get in contact with their elected representatives – to make law enforcement nervous. ®

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