Judge backs Apple over FBI in iPhone unlock ruling, but San Bernardino case will continue

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

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!