A phone with Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon apps. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Federal investigators are in a battle with Facebook trying to force the tech company to unlock end-to-end encryption on its Messenger app so they can eavesdrop on a specific user as part of an investigation into the MS-13 gang.

The big picture: Despite Facebook's effort to thwart the government's access to private data, it isn't uncommon for agencies to request similar data from tech companies including giants like Google and Apple.

Between the lines: Though this particular data request is larger than average, tech companies are queried for data thousands of times per year from federal agencies.

Flashback: A similar situation arose with Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2016 when investigators requested Apple help gain entry into an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who carried out the 2015 San Bernardino shooting that resulted in the deaths of 14 people.

The company denied the request, citing the precedent it would set moving forward and potential ethical issues that could arise from it. Apple asserted that forcing the company to write a new software code allowing it to unlock the phone would violate freedoms protected by the First Amendment rights.

  • Investigators were worried that they wouldn't be able to figure out the phone's four digit passcode without using all of the allotted 10 tries and wiping its data.
  • The FBI eventually paid hackers to get into the phone, which allowed the bureau to drop the case against Apple.

The bottom line: The government requesting access to protected data is a regular occurrence for the tech industry and most often play a role in a larger investigation. However, the tech industry has vigorously protected its rights and the rights of users and that is unlikely to change any time soon.

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Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized in June after fall

Chief Justice John Roberts overseeing the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. Photo: Senate Television via Getty Images

Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized overnight after a fall on June 21, a Supreme Court spokesperson confirmed to the Washington Post on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Speculation regarding justices' health — given their lifetime appointments — always runs rampant, and this incident may have not been made public if the Post hadn't "received a tip."

Congress vs. tech's gang of four

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CEOs of tech's four leading giants will defend their industry's growing concentration of power from critics on both right and left who view them as monopolists when they testify, most likely virtually, before Congress on July 27.

Why it matters: The joint appearance by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Google's Sundar Pichai will mark a historic collision between the leaders of an industry that has changed the world and political leaders who believe those changes have harmed democracy and individual rights.

2020 attention tracker: The Trump policy trap

Data: Newswhip; Graphic: Axios Visuals — Note: Hover over the graphic on desktop to see weekly articles and interactions for candidates and issues.

The three topics generating the most intense interest online are the coronavirus, racial injustice and foreign policy, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios — and all are issues that are working against President Trump right now.

Why it matters: Storylines in Trump's populist sweet spot that carried the news cycle for much of his presidency — immigration, trade, a strong economy — have fallen away during the pandemic.