Apple just won a huge victory in New York court that could have direct implications on its high profile case with the FBI in San Bernardino, California.

Magistrate Judge James Orenstein ruled on Monday that the government could not force Apple to help it unlock an iPhone belonging to Jun Feng, a suspected drug dealer. Although the ruling has no direct legal impact on whether Apple will be forced to help the FBI create a back door into the iPhone that belonged to San Bernardino mass shooter Syed Farook, the ruling does set a precedent in Apple's favor.

Orenstein ruled that the government is not able to compel Apple to cooperate under the All Writs Act, a law first drafted in 1789 that is also cited by the FBI in the San Bernardino case.

No factor in the Brooklyn case, including the burden that the government's request would put on Apple, "justifies imposing on Apple the obligation to assist the government's investigation against its will," the ruling reads.

In a call with reporters on Monday to discuss the ruling, an Apple senior executive who requested anonymity said that Orenstein's ruling should have a “persuasive effect” on the California magistrate involved in the San Bernardino case.

The executive said that this was the first real opportunity any court had to consider government requests that ask Apple to facilitate breaking into an iPhone under the All Writs Act. The executive called the FBI's back door request in San Bernardino "far more onerous than the situation in New York" because the iPhone in the San Bernardino case is running a newer software version that would require more effort to decrypt.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has said his office has 175 iPhones it wants Apple to help it unlock if the company is forced to comply with the FBI's demands in the San Bernardino case. Court documents have also revealed that Apple has already been asked to unlock at least a dozen of its devices for law enforcement.

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