The Department of Justice has pulled another surprise on Apple this week by making a last minute request to turn the company’s court appearance on March 22nd with the FBI into an evidentiary hearing.
Apple lawyers told reporters this morning that they were caught-off guard by the last minute request which should have been submitted weeks ago.
By switching to an evidentiary hearing, both sides will be able to cross-examine witnesses that have submitted declarations to the courts. The witnesses are expected to include Apple’s head of product security Eric Neuenschwander, who filed a declaration on Tuesday claiming the FBI’s demands would make the Trusted Platform Module system vulnerable to attack, even systems built by other companies like Microsoft and Tesla.
Apple’s manager of global privacy and law enforcement compliance team, Lisa Ollie, will be another witness during the hearing, while the FBI is bringing two agents that filed declarations.
In Apple’s last filing before the March 22nd hearing, the company argued that the government is trying to use the All Writs Act like a “magic wand.” Apple has said that even though the government’s motivations may be admirable, “its methods for achieving its objectives are contrary to the rule of law, the democratic process, and the rights of the American people.”
Apple attorneys say they will continue to focus on the limits of the All Writs Act during the March 22nd hearing, rather than focusing on errors the FBI made in attempting to hack the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone. The hearing is set to start at 1PM PT on Tuesday.