Amazon Removes Encryption in FireOS 5

As the battle with the US Government over encryption heats up, more and more focus is turning towards security and privacy of mobile devices. While Apple and Google are enforcing encryption and strengthening with each passing iteration, others are moving the opposite way. In an unexpected move, Amazon is stripping encryption as a feature and option in their latest Android OS, FireOS 5, for both past and future devices.

According to Amazon, few users were opting to use the encryption option and Amazon considers encryption an enterprise feature. Due to the lack of use, Amazon simply decided to strip it out, removing it from the OS starting with FireOS 5. Interestingly the encryption option really doesn’t require any work from Amazon to implement as it already built into AOSP which FireOS is a fork from.

Even with few users opting to use the feature, stripping it out entirely doesn’t really send a good message. After all, Apple and Google are already trying their best to make encryption the default. One possible reason is that since Amazon’s Fire devices are generally on the lower end of the spectrum, enabling encryption would hurt performance too much anyways to be useful. It’s still a shame though that Amazon is limiting their customers options.