If Apple must help the government unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino killers, the “back door” will undermine the privacy of iPhone users around the globe.

If the FBI can’t see what’s on Syed Farook’s phone, any other terrorists involved in the massacre of 14 people might go undetected.

We don’t take either Apple or the FBI at their word. This case is not that clear-cut.

That’s why this is the right time for the courts to call in experts and advocates and try to come up with a ruling that balances privacy and security in the age of digital communication and terrorism.

Granted, there may not be a technological solution that will satisfy all sides, but it’s well worth the effort. And if the courts fail, Congress can step in and try to craft legislation.

Where you come down on this precedent-setting case depends partly on whom you trust less – the government or corporate America.

Deservedly, the federal government lost a lot of credibility with the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance. We and many privacy advocates have been critical of the bulk collection of phone records without individual warrants. This case is different, however, because the FBI did obtain a court order Tuesday from a federal magistrate judge.

By the same token, major corporations such as Apple tend to brag about protecting privacy when it suits them, but share customers’ data when it’s in their financial interest. Apple has every right to fight the court order, but it’s hardly the white knight of Silicon Valley.