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Amazon changes its mind on encryption; update this spring will bring back protection on Fire tablets

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Amazon changes its mind on encryption; update this spring will bring back protection on Fire tablets
One day after admitting that it had dropped support for encryption on its Android tablets with the update to Fire OS 5, Amazon said that it will offer an update this spring that will return encryption to the same devices. The company said on Thursday that its customers were not using the feature, which is why it dropped support for it.

At any other time, the original decision might have stuck. But thanks to Apple's high profile decision not to build a "unique" version of iOS to help the FBI obtain information from an encrypted iPhone, there is now more awareness about security on mobile devices. Without encryption, an Amazon Fire tablet owner could find that content saved to his/her slate, including private data, could be stolen by some one who takes possession of the tablet.

Dropping encryption from the Amazon Fire tablets didn't seem like a great idea after all, and it took Amazon all of one day to figure that out. As we said, it was an update to Fire OS 5 that removed the support for encryption from the Fire Tablets, which run on a forked version of Android; the latter does not support Google Play services.

Now that Amazon has flipped 180 degrees in just 24 hours, the company's support for Apple seems plausible. Before changing its position on encrypting the Fire tablets, it just didn't seem to make sense for Amazon to end encryption on its slates, while at the same time backing Apple's decision not to unlock a terrorist's Apple iPhone 5c.

If you own an Amazon Fire tablet, your private data will become secure again following the next software update this spring. Until then, you might want to make sure that nothing of importance is left on your slate.

source: Engadget

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posted on 05 Mar 2016, 02:30 2

1. meanestgenius (Posts: 11548; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Smart move the part of Amazon. They never should have stopped encryption in the first place, but I had faith that they'd do the right thing, and they did. Kudos.

posted on 05 Mar 2016, 02:52 1

2. Well-Manicured-Man (Posts: 308; Member since: 16 Jun 2015)


I agree with you. After this move from Amazon, everybody interested in device security knows that Amazon is encrypting. Good marketing.

posted on 05 Mar 2016, 08:22 1

3. o0Exia0o (Posts: 899; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)


I was kind of thinking that this was more of a marketing ploy myself with the news of Amazon ditching encryption and the about face in less than 24 hours after the news broke...

posted on 05 Mar 2016, 14:18

6. ph00ny (Posts: 1234; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Someone should get fired for this decison. Whoever thought it was a good idea to tell their customer that they're making their devices less secure

It's like automotive makers telling their customer that they're removing side curtain airbags from their vehicles because not too many customers use them

posted on 05 Mar 2016, 09:25 1

4. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 12979; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Talk about saving face.

posted on 05 Mar 2016, 11:58

5. natypes (Posts: 1092; Member since: 02 Feb 2015)


Thank goodness how would the device ever work w/o encryption. With people going into devices on a daily basis it's so important that you encrypt.

Whatever is trendy huh? I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but this is a little overblown of late. Just like the word, 'super' and phrases 'full disclosure' and 'yeah-no'. I can not STAND trendiness.

posted on 07 Mar 2016, 08:31

7. gersont1000 (Posts: 334; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


They probably just had to do it to be able to install their new backdoor-enabled encrypted OS once the 'update' to get encryption back is installed.

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