Amazon Dropped Device Encryption From Fire OS Before Apple-FBI Case

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Amazon has removed the ability to encrypt data on its consumer devices in the latest update to its Fire OS operating system.

    The change effectively kills local encryption on the company's range of Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers and streaming media devices, leaving the data on these devices vulnerable to attacks and potentially accessible to thieves if the devices are stolen.

    Kindle Fire, Fire Phone, Amazon Fire HD, and Amazon Fire TV Sticks are all affected after users accept the Fire OS 5 update. The Verge reports that Amazon forum members first flagged the encryption removal on February 21, before the change was picked up by Twitter user David Scovetta yesterday.


    It's unclear why Amazon would choose to reduce the security of its devices, but the change is not a new development and was actually a decision made months ago, according to the company.

    "In the fall when we released Fire OS 5, we removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren't using," an Amazon spokesperson stated to various press outlets. "All Fire tablets' communication with Amazon's cloud meet our high standards for privacy and security, including appropriate use of encryption."

    The news comes amid Apple's high-profile dispute with the FBI over its refusal to comply with a court order compelling the company to create software that would unlock the phone of terror suspect Syed Rizwan Farook.

    Dozens of technology companies, industry trade groups, and encryption experts have been submitting documents to support Apple, all catalogued on Apple's website. Yesterday, Amazon also put its name to an amicus brief in support of the company's stance.

    Update: Amazon has pledged to restore disk encryption security protection to its mobile operating system after the firm reversed its stance over the weekend. "We will return the option for full disk encryption with a Fire OS update coming this spring," an Amazon spokesman told the BBC.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Amazon Dropped Device Encryption From Fire OS Before Apple-FBI Case
  2. captain cadet macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2012
    Good move when suddenly encryption is a hot topic Amazon...
  3. Crosscreek macrumors 68020


    Nov 19, 2013
    I unplugged the Fire Stick my son gave me for the holidays. Hardly used it anyways.
  4. Sirious macrumors 65816


    Jan 2, 2013
    United Kingdom
  5. philosopherdog macrumors 6502


    Dec 29, 2008
    Their devices stink big time. Amazon is showing their true colours. Imagine all of the jobs the West will lose in the long run if this weakening of security becomes the norm. The stupid are running the world. It's getting tedious.
  6. Chatter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2013
    Uphill from Downtown
    Well duh. How else will the Government know "users similar to this user looked into these topics..."

    Basic customer service folks. Nothing to see here. Move along. :rolleyes:
  7. Ivan0310 macrumors member


    Mar 1, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    How else are they supposed to use your data to deliver targeted advertisements to you for "deals" on their website?
  8. Nimrad macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2010
    Now Trump will force muslims, mexicans, drug dealers and terrorists to use Amazon products. Great!
  9. Crosscreek macrumors 68020


    Nov 19, 2013
    Can't can't even see where Amazon thought this was a good idea.
  10. MH01 macrumors G3


    Feb 11, 2008
    But I run KODI on my fire stick and this is an outrage !!!!
  11. naeS1Sean macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    Scranton, PA
    lol, wow. They remind me of that nerdy kid in school that, when a bully walks up to them with a mean face, they instantly start crying and hand over their lunch and money. lol

    (I was that kid)
  12. John Mcgregor Suspended

    John Mcgregor

    Aug 21, 2015
  13. bsbeamer macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2012
    Terrible timing. Was the Amazon support actually from the AWS division, rather than the Amazon commercial division?

    Unfortunately, this may be a "good" business move for Amazon in an attempt to secure government-sector market-share in the future. Depending on the FBI case outcome, there may be local governments "up in arms" about encryption and they will want to put their money where there mouth is... maybe become the next Blackberry-style alternative?
  14. 2010mini macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2013
    Blackberry? RIM had some of the best data encryption around.
  15. Jsameds macrumors 68020

    Apr 22, 2008
    Implementing and then deliberately removing encryption? WTF are they thinking?!
  16. thisisnotmyname macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2014
    known but velocity indeterminate
    The picture I have in my mind of the average fire tablet user is someone looking for dirt cheap and really not caring about anything else. I don't think many of their users are going to care. That may not apply for fire stick users though. Seems a large number are buying them to hack, although at that point isn't the capability of fireos out the window anyway?
  17. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    IDK, seems to me it would be the opposite. The government hates keeping any data unencrypted. It's what makes their attempts to have all of our devices unencrypted seem especially stupid.
  18. bsbeamer macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2012
    Yes, and the government did not have a problem with it at the time and still do not to this day. The only people who still regularly use Blackberry these days seem to be government-related in some capacity.

    Yes, this is very true for federal... but maybe certain sectors of local governments who are up in arms against Apple (and encryption) want to start seeing what a world without encryption really looks like?
  19. Studioman macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2015
    That may be unlikely since they care about their devices being secure, just not yours.
  20. oneMadRssn macrumors 68030


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    What's the big deal? Those who want encryption on their tablets or phones or whatever devices shouldn't buy Amazon Fire products. It's simple. It's not like Amazon advertised or touted the encryption feature before, like Apple and Google have.
  21. Dave-Z macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2012
    This would make a great T-shirt!
  22. Cuban Missles macrumors 68040

    Cuban Missles

    And yet Amazon filed (through a consortium) an amicus brief in support of Apple and security. Way to play both ends Jeff.
  23. avanpelt macrumors 68000

    Jun 2, 2010
    Slow clap for Amazon.

    Really bad move considering Fire tablets are used quite often by kids. Wait until the story breaks that people have been spying on kids via the cameras in the Fire. How? Oh, because Amazon decided to drop encryption for Fire OS.

    If that ever happens (and I suspect it's only a matter of time), Amazon's tablet business will suffer a huge blow...perhaps a death blow.
  24. Benjamin Frost macrumors 68020

    Benjamin Frost

    May 9, 2015
    London, England
    This news doesn't surprise me.

    Bezos and Amazon are curled up with the Obama administration in corruption. That's why their share price is $500, when it ought to be $50.

    The day that Bezos is removed from Amazon will be a good day for justice.

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