Amazon Caves, Won’t Drop Fire OS 5 Encryption

Just one day after a security expert called attention to Amazon's decision to drop support for device encryption in its Fire OS 5 operating system, the company has reversed course and said it will bring the option back soon.

A statement from Amazon released late Friday evening said, "We will return the option for full disk encryption with a Fire OS update coming this spring."

Amazon had dropped support for device encryption when it released its Fire OS 5 operating system in September. The company said the update "removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren't using."

Reversal after Widespread Criticism

Customers on Amazon's online support forums have been complaining about the device encryption decision since at least January. However, Amazon's actions didn't come to widespread public attention until David Scovetta, lead analyst for compliance and security at Zendesk, tweeted Thursday, "While Apple fights the good fight, @Amazon removes encryption as option from FireOS 5."

His comment referred to Apple's recent efforts to challenge a court order that the company create a new version of its iOS mobile operating system. The Federal Bureau of Investigation wants Apple to create the code so it can break the security of an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook in a December 2 attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.

Following a firestorm of criticism about its decision to drop device encryption, Amazon changed course. "This is what the small victories look like," Amie Stepanovich, U.S. policy manager for the advocacy organization Access Now tweeted late Friday after Amazon's announcement.

'Lying Dormant Cyber Pathogen'

Meanwhile, supporters of Apple's challenge of the FBI order also took to Twitter and other social media outlets last week after iOS forensic security expert Jonathan Zdziarski published a blog post criticizing a San Bernardino official for warning that...

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