While Apple is in the public’s attention right now for fighting against the U.S. government to keep its devices encrypted, Amazon seems to have gone the opposite direction and removed the local storage encryption feature from all of its devices, including the Kindle e-readers, Fire Phone, Fire Tablets, and Fire TV devices.
Amazon’s devices have supported encryption for a while, but starting with Fire OS 5, encryption is not even an option anymore. Therefore, if Amazon devices customers have the encryption enabled when they receive the Fire OS 5 update, it won’t allow the installation to go through until users remove the encryption from their devices. You will instead be greeted with this message:
“Your device has encrypted data. However, device encryption is no longer supported in Fire OS 5. Follow the steps outlined below to save your data.”
This comes at a time when Apple is engaged in multiple lawsuits throughout the country to have the right to use strong encryption and security for the benefit of its users and the right not have to compromise everyone’s security at the behest of the government.
On one of its customer service pages, Amazon is still telling its customers how to enable encryption on their devices. The information is now obviously obsolete, but it shows that not too long ago, the company was indeed encouraging its customers to enable encryption to protect the data on their devices.
It’s unclear what made Amazon change its mind on encryption last fall when Fire OS 5 launched on the new Kindle Fire Tablets. What’s even stranger is that Amazon is one of the companies filing amicus briefs in support of Apple in the San Bernardino case.
If that case ends favorably for Apple, just like the one in New York recently, perhaps we’ll see Amazon enable encryption again in a future update. The more of its customers demand the feature back, the higher the chance for that to happen.
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu.