For Amazon, security is an inconvenience

March 5, 2016 – 11:16 AM

If you ever needed a definition of hypocrisy, Amazon just served up one hot plate.

Amazon has removed device encryption from its tablets and phones, a day after the company filed a brief supporting Apple in its fight against the FBI over encryption.

The retail giant turned cloud and device maker confirmed in a statement it had removed device encryption from its Fire OS 5 because the company “found customers weren’t using it.”

In other words, Amazon will continue to encrypt your data in transit, but it won’t scramble the contents of its customers’ Fire tablets or phones. That means thieves and law enforcement will have an easier time grabbing user data from these devices without too much effort.

Though the decision was made last year, the brouhaha ignited this week after one Fire tablet owner David Scovetta posted a screenshot on Twitter showing that encryption on older Fire HD and Fire HDX tablets is “no longer supported.” Now it appears that Amazon is reversing course and will add back encryption in a Spring update, according to TechCrunch.

Nevertheless, Amazon’s timing of the upgrade is striking, given that it pushed the software to older devices at a tense moment in the tech industry.


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