Apple is resisting a federal judge’s order that it write new software code to help the FBI break into the iPhone used by one of the attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015.

In its court brief, Apple claims the order violates the company’s First and Fifth Amendment rights and oversteps the federal All Writs Act, and that complying with it would “inflict significant harm—to civil liberties, society, and national security.”

The standoff between Apple and the FBI is at the center of the escalating battle between technology companies that are encrypting data in order to protect customers’ privacy and security and the US government, which says it needs the ability to access encrypted data to keep America safe.

BU Research sat down with Sharon Goldberg, a Boston University associate professor of computer science and faculty fellow at the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, to discuss her views on how the case relates to security and the growing debate over encryption.

Goldberg: Well, the headlines say, “Apple refuses to unlock terrorist phone.” That sounds really bad if you assume that the information needed for this investigation is only available on the shooter’s phone and can’t be obtained in any other way.

But it’s important to remember that the information we see on our phones is not just stored on our phones. For example, every phone call we make—who we call, how long we spoke, how often we called them, at what time we called them—is stored by the phone company. You can see this information in your phone bill every month. Your phone also has a GPS, and some cell phone providers use it to very accurately track your location.

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