The court’s decision came at a time when the FBI is trying to achieve the same thing for a San Bernardino shooter.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein has stated that the U.S. Justice Department is not within its right in saying that Apple is required to go ahead with an iPhone unlocking in a drug case.
This was an important ruling as it has arrived at a time in which Apple is required to do the same thing in another case.
The judge in New York has said that Apple cannot be forced into an iPhone unlocking as a part of a routine drug case in Brooklyn. At the same time, the FBI has also been attempting to require Apple to write code that would allow them to gain access to the locked contents of the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. In the latter case, the FBI were able to obtain an order from a California magistrate judge that requires the tech giant to assist the U.S. government in unlocking the smartphone used by Syed Farook, who was one of the people who murdered 14 partygoers on December 2, 2015 and injured nearly two dozen more.
The New York judge stated that Apple couldn’t be required to complete the iPhone unlocking against its will.
The judge also pointed out that there has yet to be legislation adopted by Congress that would allow the U.S. government to achieve the result it has been seeking. He wrote “How best to balance those interests is a matter of critical importance to our society, and the need for an answer becomes more pressing daily, as the tide of technological advance flows ever farther past the boundaries of what seemed possible even a few decades ago.”
Judge Orenstein also added that “But that debate must happen today, and it must take place among legislators who are equipped to consider the technological and cultural realities of a world their predecessors could not begin to conceive.”
A spokesperson representing the Justice Department expressed the disappointment they felt over the ruling laid down by Judge Orenstein. He also expressed the intentions of the Justice Department to appeal the case in the very near future.
On the other hand, Apple and its attorneys said they were preparing their opinion on the matter of the iPhone unlocking decision and would be sharing that soon.