A New York judge has ruled in Apple’s favor in an ongoing case through which the government was seeking to force the Cupertino company to unlock an iPhone by leveraging the All Writs Act. The case is separate from the current ongoing battle between the FBI and Apple over whether the government can compel Apple to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. However, it’s an important win for Apple as the fate of the San Bernardino case remains uncertain.
From the ruling:
For the reasons set forth below, I conclude that under the circumstances of this case, the government has failed to establish either that the AWA permits the relief it seeks or that, even if such an order is authorized, the discretionary factors I must consider weigh in favor of granting the motion. More specifically, the established rules for interpreting a statute’s text constrain me to reject the government’s interpretation that the AWA empowers a court to grant any relief not outright prohibited by law.
The case is similar in nature to the higher-profile San Bernardino case, especially concerning the government’s use of the All Writs Act as the basis for compelling Apple to help it access data on the phones. While the California judge presiding over the San Bernardino case could rule differently, the New York case gives the company firmer ground to stand on going forward.