In a rare positive judicial ruling, a judge in New York has ruled against the feds who were demanding the power to coerce Apple into unlocking an iPhone:
A US magistrate judge in New York has ruled that the government can’t force Apple to help law enforcement unlock an iPhone using the All Writs Act.
In the brief, the judge concluded that this is an issue that should be handled by congress. If the government wants to use All Writs or CALEA to force companies to circumvent encryption, there needs to a clear law granting it that power.
It should be noted that this case separate from the San Bernardino one but the ruling could give Apple’s lawyers some judicial precedence to strengthen their argument in that case.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the judge rule that Congress needs to make a law to resolve this debate. What would have been better is a ruling that said the State doesn’t have the power to coerce people into performing labor against their will. Of course such a precedence would effectively invalidate the State itself so I understand why it wasn’t made.
This issue will likely continue to come up until the Supreme Court rules on it. Having the authority to coerce companies into creating backdoors is just too enticing for the feds to roll over on. That being the case, companies should start focusing their efforts on creating software and devices that they are unable to crack. If devices are effectively secured by default it won’t matter what laws are passed or what rulings are made.