Amazon has confirmed that version 5 of Fire OS for its Fire tablet removes support of device encryption.
In a statement sent to TechCrunch the company said:
In the fall when we released Fire OS 5, we removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren’t using. All Fire tablets’ communication with Amazon’s cloud meets our high standards for privacy and security including appropriate use of encryption.
So in essence, with this move it means that the Fire Tablets will have no encryption, as far as the local data is concerned, however, the external servers will still have protection.
The dropping of support for Fire OS 5 device encryption was spotted earlier by EFF member David Scovetta who tweeted the change.
“While Apple fights the good fight, @Amazon removes encryption as option from FireOS 5 | @csoghoian @normative @eff pic.twitter.com/nggBdtFG7j“— David Scovetta (@davidscovetta) March 3, 2016
This move by the company came into light at a time when Apple is locked in a high-profile battle with FBI in support of encryption. The agency has demanded Cupertino to reduce the security behind iOS so that they are able to hack into the locked iPhone 5c.
Multiple companies have announced their support of Apple’s decision of not complying with the court’s order of unlocking the phone. The firms are also debating on having a proper discussion in Congress on the issue regarding whether security services should have the right to request companies perforate their own encryption systems on demand. It is quite ironical that Amazon is the first company that has backed Apple quite strongly on this issue.
If a company decides to remove the encryption on it own, as Amazon is currently doing, the whole discussion becomes obsolete. Law enforcement, security agencies and hackers don’t need any special backdoors to be built; without encryption protecting local storage they can easily obtain users’ data from the tablet.