On Monday, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, went against the Federal Justice Department and denied the government’s application to force Apple to grant investigators access to data from a locked iPhone that was seized during a drug investigation.
The ruling may influence the outcome of the San Bernardino terrorism case in which Apple has chosen to appeal a ruling for the company to find a suitable way to bypass the iPhone’s security mechanism.
The tech world remains in agreement with the stance Apple has taken, with the belief that the creation of a system that could effectively become a master key to unlock any iPhone is a grave and dangerous step. A bypass key would not only allow access to government agencies, but it would create the possibility for hackers to easily get into a locked iPhone as well.
Monday’s ruling marks a significant legal victory for Apple, which has argued that it should not be forced to violate the privacy expectations its customers. However, the future of mobile encryption and personal privacy remains unstable.
Both the San Bernardino and Brooklyn cases are at the beginning stages where arguments are heard by magistrate judges, who stand below district court judges in the federal court system. The appeal process can be a lengthy one, unless a higher court chooses to fast track the case.