Seattle – Amazon has silently discontinued encryption in its Fire OS platform just at this moment when Apple fights with the FBI over the decryption of information locked in a terrorist’s iPhone.
Even though Amazon decision may appear to be connected with the current Apple-FBI iPhone unlocking fight, the web retailer said that encryption was removed because customers simply weren’t using it.
Even though the decision was made last year, the retail giant confirmed on Friday in a statement it had removed device encryption from its Fire OS 5, just a day after the company filed a brief supporting message for Apple in its fight against the FBI over encryption.
With encryption removed, all files stored on the tablets and phone using Fire OS 5.0 can be accessed by anyone who they manage to break into the device.
However, the company assured the customers’ data is still protected, especially on the Web where it is stored and vulnerable to hacking.
“All Fire tablets’ communication with Amazon’s cloud meet our high standards for privacy and security including appropriate use of encryption,” Robin Handaly, an Amazon spokeswoman said. The Chicago Tribune reported.
Amazon’s decision comes at a bad time
Considering the current context, Amazon’s decision seems to have come in bad time. Apple is at the moment going through a fight with the FBI because the company has denied providing the FBI with the encrypted information locked in a terrorist iPhone.
Over 40 companies including Amazon itself, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Yahoo have publicly backed up the phone maker’s decision. They claim that giving the government open access to one phone can unleash security concerns among the users.
Nathan White, Senior Legislative Manager at digital rights organization Access Now said Amazon’s decision is backward. According to him, not only does it move away from default device encryption, where other manufacturers are headed, now the devices themselves have become more attractive targets for thieves.
John Kindervag, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. said he believed this decision could be a huge misstep and that he wouldn’t be surprised if they have to back off this announcement.
Source: Chicago Tribune