For those following the encryption case between Apple and the U.S. Government closely, this is a case which has much wider implications as the outcome is one which is likely to affect all smartphone owners, manufacturers and operating systems. This is due to the Apple case likely to be one which will set the precedent for further dealings on encryption. While the likes of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and many others, are standing besides Apple and are in the process of filing motions to publicly declare their support, Amazon seems to have made an interesting move behind the scenes.
According to the details coming through, the company seems to have now removed encryption from Fire devices running the latest Fire OS 5. According to the details, Fire device owners who upgrade their devices to Fire OS 5 are losing the ability to encrypt their data. A screenshot from one such user (shown below) highlights that a warning message does pop up declaring the change in encryption after upgrading, noting that “encryption support will soon be deprecated.” If you are a Fire OS device owner, then you have probably already noticed the change as it seems the complaints about the dropping of encryption has been circulating around social media and forums over the last week or two. However, with the current case ongoing, it is not starting to come to the forefront of the news today.
Interestingly, as this is a change which happens during upgrading, those concerned about the encryption of their data can remain on Fire OS 4 and while doing so, will keep their encryption in place. However, this will mean that they will miss out on any of the newly added features or future updates. The alternative is to upgrade and agree to the removal of the encryption support completely. Whether this is anything’s specifically to do with the current encryption climate remains to be seen at the moment. Although, the timing is one which will lead many to assume it is more than coincidence. However, it is worth pointing out that Amazon is one of the companies who has filed an amicus (friend of the court) motion in support of Apple. You can see an example of the upgrade warning for loss of encryption in the image below.