The eyes of smartphone users, legal scholars, and civil rights advocates everywhere are on the subject of the San Bernardino terrorism investigation in which the FBI is trying to compel Apple to create a modified, security-weakened version of iOS. Last week we saw Apple file its official response to the court order in question, as the company fights to resist the FBI’s demands. But while we’ll be waiting for a few more weeks before we learn what comes of that battle, a separate judicial ruling has just sided with Apple over the FBI, declaring that the All Writs Act cannot be used to force Apple to break into a locked iPhone.
That All Writs Act is the federal statute that’s also the subject of the San Bernardino order, and while this new ruling – one from a New York district court – doesn’t directly affect the California case, it could be a signal that the legal climate is in Apple’s favor.
In this New York case, the judge denied the government’s attempt to compel Apple’s assistance by means of the All Writs Act due to the act being overly broad in its language as interpreted here – to the extent that it may be unconstitutionally so.
There’s no guarantee that the judge in the San Bernardino case will take the same position, but this development is already being seen as one that could help turn the tide in Apple’s favor.
Source: The Wall Street Journal