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Apple vs. the FBI: Details on the March 22 hearing

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Apple may be done with its major announcements, but it has no time to relax. The Cupertino company will be battling the FBI in court on March 22 in a hearing that will draw attention from all over the world.

For a little background, encryption has been a matter debate between the government and the tech industry for quite a few years. But the issue was drawn into the public sphere as Apple, and other tech companies, began to implement encryption into their phones and services. That made it harder for the FBI to gain access to these devices when the agency needed to get access during an investigation. That’s exactly what happened after the San Bernardino terrorist shooting, as one shooter left behind an encrypted iPhone the FBI couldn’t crack.

Apple cooperated with the FBI, until it was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym to create new code, a backdoor, that would permit the FBI to access the phone. Apple was concerned that if the technology it was being asked to build got into the wrong hands, it could leave millions of iPhones at risk, and would create an unreasonable burden for the company. It would also set a precedent, allowing the FBI to demand any company give up its user data to assist in any investigation.

That’s why dozens of tech firms like Google and Amazon, as well as law professors, security experts, privacy groups, and even the human rights commissioner for the United Nations, submitted amicus briefs supporting Apple in the case.

Judge Pym will hear arguments from both sides tomorrow, on whether the federal government can demand that Apple create specialized software to break into a device that is part of an investigation. With this being such a high-profile event, special measures have been put in place for people attending the hearing — the United States “will be granted” nine seats, as will Apple. Additional seats will be given to the media, and there will be other courtrooms that will provide a live feed to the proceedings.

Apple will bring its cryptography expert, Erik Neuenschwander, and its manager of global privacy and law enforcement compliance, Lisa Ollie, and the FBI will be bringing two agents that submitted declarations on the case, according to Engadget.

The court is distributing tickets for seats on a first-come first-serve basis at 7 a.m. PT., outside the Riverside federal courthouse. Those with tickets will b allowed in at noon. Unfortunately, recording is not permitted, and no one but counsel for the U.S., and Apple, are nor permitted to use electronic devices during the hearing. People in the overflow courtrooms, with the live feeds, can use their devices, but they still can’t record.

The hearing begins at 1:00 pm PT, and social media will likely play a big role in the coverage, in case you want the latest updates — so following Twitter is your best bet. Of course, we’ll be gathering as much data as we can throughout the hearing and afterwards, so follow us on @DigitalTrends and @DTMobile and check back to our site for more updates.

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