A report published by Bloomberg offers additional details into Apple's ongoing battle with the FBI, including how the company has worked in private with government agencies in the past to provide access to court-ordered data.
The encryption issue started gaining traction following the launch of iOS 8, which altered the way data was encrypted, making it impossible for external agencies — and even Apple — to gain access to the device once a passcode was set. From Bloomberg:
Apple gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation early access to iOS 8 so it could study how the new system would change evidence-gathering techniques, according to people familiar with the software's development. The agency quickly realized Apple had closed an important access point used for years by agents to collect information about criminal suspects. Many in the FBI were stunned. Suddenly, photos, text messages, notes and dozens of other sources of information stored on phones were off-limits.
The new encryption protections set off a behind-the-scenes battle that ultimately spilled into the open last month, when a California judge granted the Justice Department an order requiring Apple to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.
At times, Apple and the White House enjoyed good ties, even working together to persuade China not to force phone makers to give authorities a key to unlock a handset's encryption. The administration also didn't give in to FBI lobbying for new legislation that would make it easier to unlock data on mobile devices with warrants.
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