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Amazon reverses course on encryption for its Fire tablets

5 March 2016

From engadget:

It’s been only one day since — in the midst of a national debate over encrypted devices — Amazon started pushing a new Fire OS 5 to its tablets that ditched support for device encryption. Just yesterday, the company said that was because customers weren’t using the feature. Tonight, the company tells Engadget that it will bring the option back in another update that is due to arrive this spring. Given the attention Apple’s battle with the FBI has brought to this security feature it seems logical that encryption remains at least available as an option, even on a device intended for casual usage.


We will return the option for full disk encryption with a Fire OS update coming this spring.

Link to the rest at engadget

PG hasn’t been able to find any press releases or sourced quotes from Amazon to confirm this item, but, the whole affair remains a bizarre exception to Amazon’s usual intelligent and effective business decisions.

Amazon, Tablets/Ereaders

7 Comments to “Amazon reverses course on encryption for its Fire tablets”

  1. Heh, any bets this was to be able to say, ‘See? Buyers ‘want’ to be able to secure their devices’?

    At bit like Coke-la-Cola getting everyone mad at them for offering ‘new Coke’ just so they could then sell the same ol swill as ‘classic coke’ … 😉

    • Classic Coca-Cola is not the same ol’ swill as Old Coca-Cola.

      Old Coca-Cola was made with cane sugar (as it currently is in Mexico).

      Classic Coca-Cola is made with high-fructose corn syrup.

      In San Antonio, you can buy Mexican Coca-Cola at Fiesta Mart. Likely you can find it at HEB, too.

  2. Firmware updates take months to develop, test, and deploy.
    Amazon most likely decided full device encryption was a bigger problem than its worth last fall…
    …at a time the issue was only on the minds of techies and the paranoid. Now it’s a hot topic.
    Six months from now…?

  3. Encrypt your devices. If you lose your device or it gets stolen (or should you be arrested), your phone (other than the phones with iOS8+) can EASILY be broken into with simple tools. However, if the data on the phone is encrypted, it is nearly impossible to decrypt.

    Your device, if you are like most people, contains more personal information than your computer by a long shot. Worse, your phone is the primary link in “two-factor authentication” which means if someone steals your phone, they can not only login to every website/app/service you’ve used your phone to do such a thing, they can literally lock you out of your accounts by changing the passwords first (using two-factor authentication since they have the phone or tablet), then begin changing all of your info (like addresses to purchase items with your accounts and have the items shipped to them).

    Be smart consumers. It takes an hour or less to encrypt all the data on your device. It takes 2 seconds to swipe the passcode or enter the PIN passcode.

    Remember, encryption on your mobile devices are like seat belts… you should always use it because the one time you don’t is going to be the one time you receive the most injury.

  4. I wonder if Fire consumers assumed their data was protected, and were surprised to find it wasn’t?

  5. The day a security feature like mobile device encryption achieves notoriety as the ultimate protection is the day I become a skeptic.

    An observation: secure one year is not secure the next. When enough smart and creative people try to break through security, they succeed. When the monetary incentives are huge, there are plenty of smart and creative people are on the job.

    Look at the Apple vs. FBI case. There are an open markets for illegal hacking tools. There are stories that US government agencies are among the buyers. A good hack goes for around 100K. I suspect the one the FBI wants would go for more. Betcha there are folks staying up late and working weekends on that one.

    By all means encrypt. It does harden your data. But don’t trust encryption, because what is trustworthy today will not be trustworthy tomorrow. Nothing connected to a network is safe. Everything is eventually open to prying eyes.

    For myself, I have reverted. If I want to keep something private, I don’t put it on a computer, or if I must put it on a computer, I put it on a computer permanently offline. And I realize there are still ways to pry into my secrets.

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