Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Amazon Drops Encryption Support From Its Fire Products

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Vice:

[Amazon] has recently deprecated support for device encryption on the latest version of Fire OS, Amazon’s custom Android operating system, which powers its tablets and phones. In the past, privacy-minded users could protect data stored inside their devices, such as their emails, by scrambling it with a password, which made it unreadable in case the device got lost or stolen. With this change, users who had encryption on in their Fire devices are left with two bad choices: either decline to install the update, leaving their devices with outdated software, or give up and keep their data unencrypted.

Amazon claims that their users simply didn’t use the encryption features, but all iPhone and iPad users who use a passcode have encryption enabled automatically. Why doesn’t Amazon do that instead of regressing? They might be supporting Apple (PDF) in the latter’s case against the FBI, but their behaviour implies that they don’t really care.

Update: Amazon says they’re going to bring back full-device encryption with a software update later this year.