Amazon has stated it will restore full-disk encryption feature of its Fire tablets in a new update which will be released this spring. This comes in the wake of widespread criticism after the on-device encryption feature was turned off as part of the Fire OS 5 software update released last fall.
Amazon had quietly disabled the feature which it justified saying there weren’t many takers for what it claimed as an ‘enterprise feature.’
Amazon also clarified its decision to remove the encryption feature in the next Fire OS update was made last fall, much before the high-profile Apple-FBI case had started, which in turn had brought to the fore the security vs. private debate.
Those in favor of the on-device encryption feature consider it to be crucial saying the tendency of most tablet users to keep their personal details stored on their devices makes it critically important. This essentially encrypts the data on the device and will remain so unless it is decrypted again using a special key.
Also, it could not have been a more inopportune time for Amazon to have been found back-tracking on issues such as encryption and user’s privacy what with both being hotly debated thanks to the current Apple vs. FBI imbroglio.
What makes matters even more tricky for Amazon is that the company has recently expressed its full support for Apple against the FBI. The federal security agency has demanded Apple into developing a special means for gaining access to the iPhone 5c belonging to Syed Farook, a prime accused in the San Bernardino terrorist incident.
The Fire OS 5 is a customized version of Android and is made available by Amazon to run on its Fire range of tablets, Fire TVs, and the Fire phone though the latter bombed in the markets.
Amazon has been forced to issue a notification saying those who value encryption on their devices more than anything else should refrain from updating to the latest version of the Fire OS before the spring update is made available which promises to re-introduce the encryption feature to the Amazon tablets.