After Backlash, Amazon Promises To Bring Back Encryption On Fire OS

from the of-course dept

Just to close the loop on this one: just after the firestorm last week when Amazon was called out for removing device encryption from Fire OS 5 (at the very same time as its CTO was saying encryption is “mandatory” and the company signed on to a brief supporting Apple in the encryption fight, the company has admitted that it will restore encryption to Fire OS 5 “sometime in the spring.”

The company had insisted that no one was really using it — and some suggested that there may have been performance issues when encryption was turned on. But, even if that’s the case, it still makes little sense to have yanked the feature entirely. For the small number of people who were using it, it was clearly an important feature. And, given all of this, it’s no surprise Amazon is bringing it back. It still doesn’t quite explain why they removed it in the first place, but it’s good to see that this got settled in the proper way in the end.

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Companies: amazon

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Comments on “After Backlash, Amazon Promises To Bring Back Encryption On Fire OS”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Actually I don’t believe it got settled at all; at least not from my perspective. I own a Kindle Fire. What it will not be doing is connecting to the internet. Not to receive the latest downgrade nor the promised but as of yet vaporware return.

Amazon would not be the first company to promise to bring something back by popular acclaim and when the time comes fail to do so.

What Amazon has shown me is it’s willingness to yank back what was sold on it’s devices. That particular device for all their claims of licensing was not rented; it was purchased for ownership. As such Amazon doesn’t get to do whatever in the hell it wants with my device without my permission. The connection here is that if it is not allowed to connect to the internet it will not receive upgrades. That isn’t a good thing. Neither will it receive downgrades.

I purchased the device new. I purchased it with the items on it over others because of the choices available to me with it. Yanking back those choices after the sale does not sit well with me and I don’t have to agree with it.

What Amazon has shown in this little escapade, is that it is yet another corporation that can not be trusted not to alter it’s deal after the sale. So Amazon will not recieve datamining back, nor will it be able to downgrade the device from it’s present configuration without my approval. I don’t approve of this freebee downgrade at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I agree with you on this. I was highly annoyed with the ads, and overall kludge that is the UI. I connected it to the network within the first 5 minutes of owning it and bam, it upgraded it’s firmware and I couldn’t root it….until the genius’ over at XDA came up with another method. Go to YouTube and watch RootJunky’s videos on how to root and use flashfire to install SlimLP or Cyanogen. Works great with only 1 small minor annoyance, an Exchange error that pops up from time to time. I’m sure that could be resolved with the right version of GAPPS.

Whatever (profile) says:

I think the answer is way simpler than any of you think:

Amazon knows that not that many people have been using the encryption features (why bother), but they also know that encryption is a current hot button issue. The announcement that they were disabling it on their products came about the same time that they announced their support for Apple’s fight against the FBI.

Remove encryption, generate tons of press, get people to scream that they shouldn’t remove it, re-enable it, and point out how much you support Apple. Boom, news cycle complete.

Amazon appears to be mostly manipulating the media and it’s users to further a goal. That’s pretty sad.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I think the answer is way simpler than any of you think:”

I like the way you think that “Amazon removed it because they wanted to generate a bunch of press about their own hypocrisy that may further their own publicity when they made a public U-turn in the face of negative attention” is simpler than “Amazon removed an underused feature that may have been causing support issues, but misjudged the negative backlash”.

It’s an interesting spin, but you couldn’t agree with an opinion here without inserting your own spin with no real insight as to why it somehow makes more sense than the article, could you?

“That’s pretty sad.”

It’s pretty sad if it actually leads to a net benefit for Amazon rather than people going “we can’t trust them, so my next purchase won’t be an Amazon product”. Not unlikely, but pretty sad.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“It’s called an opinion”

As are the posts by every other commenter, and the originating articles you complain about so often. Yet, somehow, it’s OK for you to question those (or just claim they’re wrong), but not for the rest of us to question you…

The fact is, unless you were presenting it as a simple way to be contrary to the article in any way possible (your usual schtick), your stated opinion makes no logical sense. But, rather than answer the question as to why your contrived conclusion is “simpler” than the ones already presented, you whine about being challenged.

I know this is how you operate, but as I’ve warned you before, I challenge incorrect, factually false or illogical posts when I see them. I try to get an honest debate out of people who try to dictate a contrary position without explanation or citation. It’s not my fault so many of them come from you, but there we are.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I asked you a simple question, yet you whine like a child instead of answering it. You’re a pathetic troll, it’s a shame you won’t redirect your energy into having a discussion rather than trying to find silly ways to be contrary to the articles you comment upon. Yet, here you are.

I’ll continue to state my opinions here. But, if those opinions include noting how full of shit you are at every turn, well that’s my right as much as it’s yours to spout it. Maybe at some point you’ll try having an adult conversation instead of whining.

Monday (profile) says:

My opinions...

I, personally, have zero problems with Amazon. I consider them a ‘good‘ company, with some well defined support and good employees/representatives – the ones I have encountered anyways – whom are generally interested in a customer’s well-being and peace of mind.

I have had a couple problems in the past with Amazon, and they were more than willing to work with me to get the issues I had resolved. It’s a great model, if it’s actually being told to representatives… although that would be an amazing feat to get so many employees reading from the same book, let alone on the same page.

If even an hundred people voiced complaints; demanded refunds, because Amazon had broken an agreement, it is my belief that Amazon would want to fix this.

As for bringing FIRE OS back, “with a new backdoor“, I seriously doubt that. That is a first year Conspiracy Theory influenced by what is happening with APPLE, and all the comments, opprobrium, and County District Attorney fabrications. It could very well be that the performance issue, while encryption was turned on, is the case, but, and you are right Masnick, I agree it was an overreaction; quite possibly a small test, for the reactions from the customer and the company’s possible response to their own encryption issues – they needed to find out just how many people were/are paying attention to the encryption debate.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: My opinions...

“I, personally, have zero problems with Amazon”

That’s cool. In fact, as a customer, I’ve never had a problem myself and always found their customer service department to be excellent.

However, the company does have a lot of issues, from its attitude towards DRM (e.g. when they remotely deleted purchased content that had been removed from the store) to the ongoing claims of poor treatment of its warehouse staff. Them having a strong and successful customer focus does not shield it from valid criticism in other areas, nor should it.

It’s true that this is related to the Apple situation and there’s other ways to read it. But, at the very least, the fact that they made this move while their own CTO was arguing the opposite shows at least some internal issues if not an outright “do what we say not what we do” attitude, which is unfortunate. It’s nice that they’ve made a U-turn, but it would be nicer if they were clear on where they really stand on the issue. Also, lets not forget that if this was a “test”, then they’re using their own customers’ security as the guinea pigs without their informed consent – not exactly customer friendly.

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