A magistrate judge in New York today ruled that U.S. Justice Department cannot force Apple to provide the FBI with access to a locked iPhone. The judge’s decision would seem to contradict an earlier magistrate judge’s order for Apple to assist the Government in unlocking an iPhone, although today’s ruling is based on a different line of reasoning (i.e. on the ‘All Writs Act’) (AFAIK).
“Ultimately, the question to be answered in this matter, and in others like it across the country, is not whether the government should be able to force Apple to help it unlock a specific device; it is instead whether the All Writs Act resolves that issue and many others like it yet to come,” said the judge.
What effect, if any, will today’s decision have on the underlying question of whether Apple (and other, similar private organizations) can be compelled to unlock, or help to unlock, encrypted devices? Does it guarantee a SCOTUS date? Or, is it just a tempest in a teapot unlikely to be of import?