While Apple is fighting the FBI in court over encryption, Amazon quietly disabled the option to use encryption to protect data on its Android-powered devices.
The tech giant 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in their Fire devices are left with two bad choices: either decline to install the update, leaving their devices with outdated software, or give up and keep their data unencrypted. …“This is a terrible move as it compromises the safety of Kindle Fire owners by making their data vulnerable to all manner of bad actors, including crackers and repressive governments,” Aral Balkan, a coder, human rights activist, and owner of a Kindle Fire, told Motherboard. “It’s clear with this move that Amazon does not respect the safety of its customers.”
Balkan also highlighted the hypocrisy of Amazon using encryption to protect its copyright with digital rights management or DRM technology.
Some Amazon Fire customers complained about the change it in support forums.
“How can we keep using these devices if we can’t actually secure the large amount of personal data that ends up on them?” asked a user rhetorically.