New York judge rules the state can't force Apple to unlock iPhones

In a new twist to Apple’s legal battle, a New York judge has ruled that the US government can’t force the company to unlock iPhones in an unrelated case.

Apple has quite the legal battle ahead of it, but a new twist in the story has seen a New York Magistrate Judge rule that the government can’t force Apple to unlock iPhones to help law enforcement.
The news comes from an entirely different case beyond that of the San Bernardino shooter, and is instead related to drug trafficking.
Read: Tim Cook blasts FBI request for iPhone access
While the cases in question are different, the ruling represents a small victory for Apple ahead of its major battle with the FBI, who have requested access to more than 11 iPhones.
An Apple executive confirmed to Engadget that while the New York Magistrate Judge’s ruling sets an important precedent, it isn’t a binding decision that the San Bernardino case will have to follow.
Magistrate Judge James Ornstein in New York officially ruled that “…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 San Bernardino case remains a crucible one for Apple, and one that will likely set the precedent for the US governments ability to access iPhones and future versions of iOS.
Read: Google‘s Sundar Pichai backs Apple over FBI requests
Tim Cook has been open to Apple consumers, posting a letter on Apple’s official website, while Google CEO Sundar Pichai has voiced his support in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has offered his support for the FBI in a “particular case.”
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