Amazon pledges to bring device encryption back to Fire OS this spring

Right in the middle of the giant encryption fight between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Apple, Amazon recently (and somewhat quietly) made a decision to remove device encryption for its Fire OS-based devices: the Kindle Fire, Fire Phone, and Amazon Fire HD, to name a few.

Customers might have had something to say about the loss of encryption capabilities even without the highly public spat between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the San Bernardino iPhone case.

Amazon will restore optional full disk encryption to Fire OS 5 in a software update “coming this spring”, according to a statement released by the company on Friday evening.

Previously the American e-commerce and cloud computing company had explained their decision to withdraw the encryption by saying that this feature was rarely used by its customers. Users on Amazon’s online support forums have been posting questions and criticisms since at least January about the new operating system’s deprecation of device encryption.

A specific date for the return of encryption to Fire OS has not been announced.

The story behind the story: In Fire OS 4 and earlier, you could encrypt your Fire tablet and set it to require you to enter a PIN in order to unlock your device.

Not enabling encryption by default was “always a mistake”, Cluley noted.

Given its vigorous defense of Apple’s efforts to encrypt user data, removing device encryption on its own devices could likely be seen as a bit hypocritical. Amici here speak with one voice because of the singular importance of this case to them and their customers who trust amici to safeguard their data and the most sensitive communications from attackers… “Amici often compete vigorously with Apple-and with each other”.

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