NY Judge says U.S. Government cannot use the 18th century All Writs Act to force Apple to unlock an iPhone

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A New York court federal judge ruled in Apple’s favor in a case against the Justice Department and said that a law enforcement body cannot force Apple to unlock an iPhone. The case is similar to the currently ongoing Apple vs. the FBI case, though in this case, the iPhone was recovered from one of the drug trafficking agent. 

The federal judge, Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, says in the ruling that law enforcement agencies cannot use the 18th century All Writs Act as an excuse to ask the court to get Apple to unlock the iPhone recovered in this case. The judge also says that the government’s view and take on the 18th century All Writs act is so far-reaching “as to cast doubt on [its] constitutionality if adopted.” He further says that such a serious issue regarding privacy and technology of 21st century needs to be decided by lawmakers of today, and not by using a law that was formed in the 18th century.

“It would betray our constitutional heritage and our people’s claim to democratic governance for a judge to pretend that our Founders already had that debate, and ended it, in 1789,” Judge Orenstein wrote.

The Justice Department was — not surprisingly — “disappointed” with this ruling. Sadly for Apple though, it is all but given that this case will be taken to the appeals court, with both parties already prepared for it to eventually reach the Supreme Court as well.

This decision could definitely play in Apple’s favor against its case vs. the FBI in the San Bernardino shooting. Apple had also made similar claims in the case and said that the Congress should come up with a new law keeping in mind the 21st century, and not rely on the All Writs Act that was formed in the 18th century.

[Via WSJ]