Amazon has dropped encryption from its Fire tablets with the new Fire OS 5. In a move that's sure to upset privacy-conscious consumers, the company has opted to remove a feature that it says customers weren't really using anyway.
Amazon, however, is one of the companies listed in a joint amicus brief filed in the Apple-FBI case backing up Apple’s pro-encryption position. Amazon supports Apple’s decision not to undermine its own device encryption.
The news comes at a time when the tech world is caught in a debate with government over the rights of the consumer to encryption and privacy. Apple, not wanting to undermine its own security, has so far refused to grant the FBI access to an iPhone 5C protected by a passcode lock. The phone in question belonged to Syed Farook, one of the two San Bernardino shooters who killed 14 people at an office party in December. Amazon is supporting Apple’s decision to protect its customers’ data.
Amazon clarified to TechCrunch Friday that data transfers between the tablet and the cloud are still encrypted. The issue is data stored on the device itself will no longer receive protection. “In the fall when we released Fire OS 5, we removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren’t using,” Amazon said in a statement.
— David Scovetta (@davidscovetta) March 3, 2016