Apple-FBI fight over iPhone encryption pits privacy against national security

""This is a new frontier," said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. "I know of no other statutory provision that would arguably create an obligation for device manufacturers to help out the government."

Apple may not have fought orders in the past because "it was easy for Apple to give the data," she said.

"But the architecture of the phones changed," she said. "This is about Apple creating a new forensic version of its software to do the job the FBI wants it to do."

Stanford's Granick said Apple's position probably would prevail eventually.

"I don't think we are prepared, for a variety of reasons, to say to all our industries that they are going to have to create forensic tools for the government," she said."