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NY judge rules that Apple can’t be forced to hack iPhone

Apple has been told it does not have to hack into an iPhone at the government’s request. Though the wider fight against the FBI rages on, this similar case centering around a criminal’s locked iPhone has finally come to an end, with the courts ruling in Apple’s favor.

Judge James Orenstein of New York ruled that the U.S. government cannot force Apple to hack into a locked iPhone – not in this particular case at least. The ruling relates to a request from October 2015 to unlock an iPhone seized as part of a drug case. The iPhone in question runs iOS 7, meaning Apple could in theory break into it without having to create any dangerous new ‘backdoor’ software, but the judge nevertheless decided that the request would “place an unreasonable burden” on Apple.

This verdict is relevant in that it was based on the same 1789 All Writs Act which is the cornerstone of the FBI’s argument in the San Bernardino case. Though ruling is not legally binding in any other court, it may set a strong precedent on which to base parts of Apple’s argument, which is to be decided by Congress rather than the courts.

If you so desire, the entire 50-page order from Orenstein can be read here.

Read more: Apple want encryption case to go to congress as FBI spat continues