The Federal government case against Apple Inc just got a lot messier with a recent court ruling in New York by a Federal Judge this past Monday, February 29th, 2016. The ruling was connected to a drug case in which federal prosecutors were seeking to force apple to unlock iphones connected to suspected drug dealers.
The Federal Judge, in a Brooklyn court, ruled that the Federal government cannot force Apple to unlock the iPhones, which flies in the face of the recent court ruling by a US Magisterial Judge in California that Apple had to comply with the FBI’s order to unlock the Apple iPhone connected to one of the suspected San Bernardino shooters.
U.S Magistrate Judge James Orenstein ruled that the authority to force Apple to comply with the Federal request did not rest with him.
What is particularly compelling from this ruling is how closely it mirrors many of the same arguments Apple has made in refusing to comply with the California court order.
The U.S Magistrate Judge, Sheri Pym, was the judge in California that ruled in favor of the Federal government. This new ruling means two conflicting precedents have been set, which means this case is likely, before all is said and done, to go before the Supreme Court.
Orenstein wrote, in part, “The implications of the government’s position are so far-reaching – both in terms of what it would allow today and what it implies about Congressional intent in 1789 – as to produce impermissibly absurd results.”
The U.S Drug Enforcement Agency was seeking to break into an iPhone 5 that was owned by Jun Feng, a suspected drug trafficker. Feng later plead guilty, but both Apple and the Federal government still wanted a ruling on that matter
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