Rallies in support of Apple scheduled for Tuesday in Tampa Bay area

Apple CEO Tim Cook, AP file photo

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A big fight is brewing between tech giant Apple and the FBI over the contents of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s locked iPhone.

A judge ordered Apple to help hack the phone but so far the company is refusing. The judge’s order requires Apple to supply software the FBI can load onto Farook’s county-owned work iPhone to bypass a self-destruct feature that erases the phone’s data after too many unsuccessful attempts to unlock it.

Apple argues this move could set a scary precedent for personal security.

Nearly 50 Apple support rallies are scheduled to take place across the country tonight, including two right here in the Tampa area. The local rallies are hosted by the groups Don’t Break Our Phones and Fight for the Future.

The rallies are set to take place outside of the Apple stores inside Tampa’s International Plaza and the Westfield Brandon.

Info on the Tampa rally is available here, while info on the Brandon rally can be found here.

Rally organizers argue the FBI’s demand would create a backdoor into the iPhone and could potentially expose personal information to hackers, terrorists, criminals and government spies. “For everyone who says this is just about one iPhone, it is no longer about just one iPhone,” said Aki Rose Braun, a California-based rally organizer.

The protection of personal liberties and freedoms is at the heart of this hacking issue for Braun. “It creates software that could fall into the wrong hands and could make everyone less safe by giving other governments and hackers access to any iPhone,” Braun added.

That’s because hacking into one iPhone would require Apple to build a backdoor of sorts to all of its iPhones. Braun is not alone in her opposition.

Google, Twitter and Facebook have all rallied around Apple, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaking out in support of Apple Monday.

“I don’t think building back doors is the way to go, so we’re pretty sympathetic to Tim and Apple,” the New York Times quotes Zuckerberg as saying at a tech conference in Spain.

Some San Bernardino massacre victims and their family members disagree with that. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is another unlikely supporter of the FBI.

“Apple has access to the information. There is not — they are just refusing to provide the access and the courts will tell them whether to provide the access or not. You couldn’t call the access some special thing. It is no different than should if anybody ever been able to tell the phone company to get information. Bank records. There is no difference between information. The government’s come asking for a specific set of information,” Gates said in an interview with the Financial Times.

READ MORE ABOUT THE APPLE-FBI FIGHT:

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