Amazon drops encryption on its tablets... but will bring it back

Data privacy flip-flop

Amazon Fire tablets

Data encryption is a hot topic right now with Apple and the FBI at loggerheads over whether security agencies should have the ability to get at the messages, photos and other information kept on our smartphones.

Yesterday news broke that Amazon had removed the local device encryption option from version 5 of Fire OS, the customised version of Android that runs on its tablets. No one was using it, according to the company.

Well, a day is a long time in technology: today the firm founded by Jeff Bezos says full disk encryption will return to Fire OS in the next update due this spring. Good news for you, bad news for hackers.

To decrypt or not to decrypt

Encrypting a device makes it impossible for unauthorised users to pull meaningful data from it - it's an integral part of iOS and has been available on Android since version 5.0 (Lollipop).

Agencies such as the FBI believe they should be able to decrypt data in special circumstances: tracking down terrorists, protecting national security and all the other usual crime-fighting endeavours.

Apple and many other tech companies, on the other hand, think user privacy comes first - and argue that once decryption 'back doors' are created, they will be used by criminals and hackers for nefarious purposes.

Article continues below

Tags