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The current scrap between Apple and the FBI feels timely and relevant to most of us. But as a new Bloomberg feature explains, it’s been brewing for at least 18 months.


The feature explores some of the tensions between Apple and the FBI over the past 18 months. It makes clear the fact that the San Bernardino case isn’t the real source of tension—it’s merely the public-facing window that let’s us peer into an ongoing battle.

Indeed, the feature describes how the fight stretches back at least as far as 2014 when Apple was planning to release iOS 8. That version of the OS was a milestone for Apple, because it used encryption to make it all but impossible for the anyone—even the hardware manufacturer—to access user data.


Apparently Apple actually gave the FBI a copy of iOS 8 ahead of its public release “so it could study how the new system would change evidence-gathering techniques.” That, obviously, didn’t go down too well, and Bloomberg explains that it set off the negotiations between Apple and the government that have at this point descended into the leal battles we’re all too aware of.

That’s not to say that every government department was against Apple’s approach. The feature also explains that the Obama administration was initially responsive to Apple’s viewpoint, but the San Bernardino case gave the FBI the opportunity to argue its case, ultimately having the White House follow its lead.

It’s well worth reading the full feature.