Apple and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation are due back in federal court on Tuesday March 22 for a hearing that will decide whether Apple will have to write a special operating system that lets the government bypass existing security features. It's guaranteed to be a media circus. In fact, US magistrate Sheri Pym has issued minutes containing rules and guidelines for the hearing. It begins at 1pm PT in the Riverside federal courthouse in California.
According to a new report, Pym said that the courtroom will be able to seat only 54 people. Eighteen of those seats are reserved for Apple and the US government. An overflow room will accommodate 324 spectators.
She also warned of the slow security process at the courthouse, noting that "typically only 50 persons can pass through the line in an hour." With a maximum of 378 people in attendance, security could take 7.5 hours in total. The document also noted that "The hearing will start regardless of whether spectators are still waiting to get through security."
Given the long wait time, it's likely reporters will start queueing up as soon as tickets are distributed at 7am.
Yesterday we reported Apple's Manager of User Privacy will be called to testify on Tuesday. The Apple Manager had sent a Supplemental Declaration to the Court on Tuesday stating that "There would also be a burden on the Apple employees responsible for designing and implementing GovtOS. Those employees, if identified, could themselves become targets of retaliation, coercion, or similar threats by bad actors seeking to obtain and use GovtOS for nefarious purposes." That statement, to a certain degree, was undermined on Thursday by Apple engineers who told the New York Times that they simply didn't want to comply with any ruling by the Judge, with some going as far as saying that they would rather quit than submit to such a project – which Apple has dubbed 'GovtOS.'