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Short Bytes: Amazon has been in the news for ditching the enterprise-grade encryption in their tablet devices running on Fire OS 5 released last fall. Their decision has exposed them to the heat of criticism on the internet.

Amazon’s Fire tablet line-up hasn’t made much success in terms of creating a large consumer base like the iPads by the Cupertino-based company. The series of events happened in the last couple of weeks have made us arrive at a conclusion that both the companies have taken the encryption thing very seriously. Though, their acts reflect the differences in their intentions.

We have seen Apple battling against FBI to defend their reluctance to unlock their sacred iPhone. These devices are famous for their serious encryption support which made the FBI guys knock the court’s door after their failed attempts to unlock the San Bernardino Case shooter’s iPhone 5C.

Now, it is Amazon which has made it to the news by silently removing — as a part of a new software update — their enterprise-grade encryption from their tablets running on Fire OS 5. Their unexpected actions have sparked a wave of opprobrium on their support forums and social media platforms. Fire OS — upgraded to version 5 in December last year — is Amazon’s home-grown flavour of Google’s Android OS.

Amazon’s spokesperson Robin Handaly has picked up the shield to safeguard the company from the arrows of criticism. In a response to WIRED, Handaly took a defensive stance to justify the decision of the company. “In the fall when we released Fire OS 5, we removed some enterprise features that we found customers weren’t using. All Fire tablets’ communication with Amazon’s cloud meet our high standards for privacy and security including appropriate use of encryption.” – He said. Amazon’s unanticipated move has shaken the basic pillar of cybersecurity. However, this has no strings tied to Apple Vs FBI battle as they were planning this since the last few months.

The need for high-level encryption has been felt all around the globe after the whistle-blower Edward Snowden used the TOR browser to expose the mass-surveillance activities of the National Security Agency in 2013. Around 1.7 million confidential documents were leaked in Snowden’s revelation act which also proved that NSA And GCHQ spied on Israeli Drones using open source tools.

The need for high-level encryption has escalated manifold as a consequence of the spying intentions of the governments. Federal powers are forcing companies to create backdoors in their products so that they could keep an eye on the personal lives of the internet population. Apple’s recent victory against FBI (another iPhone unlocking case) is indeed, a hard blow on the face of the security agency. We could understand that their plea was for investigative purpose but it was a potential threat to the privacy of the millions of iPhone users, which is unacceptable.

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Aditya Tiwari
Aditya likes to cover topics related to Microsoft, Windows 10, and interesting gadgets. But when he is not working, you can find him binge-watching random videos on YouTube (after he has wasted an hour on Netflix trying to find a good show). Reach out at [email protected]