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Instant Analysis: Amazon.com Removes Encryption From Fire Devices

By Evan Niu, CFA – Mar 4, 2016 at 12:20PM

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Customers just weren't using the encryption on their Fire tablets, so Amazon stopped supporting it.

Image source: Amazon.

What happened?
E-commerce giant Amazon.com (AMZN -1.17%) has quietly removed support for data encryption on its Fire devices in the latest version of Fire OS, the forked version of Android that Amazon has long used to power its gadgets. The news comes just as Apple (AAPL -1.79%)is waging an incredibly high-profile battle with the U.S. government over data encryption.

Does it matter?
The timing is a little peculiar considering Apple's current situation in the San Bernardino iPhone case, but Amazon actually removed the encryption feature shortly before Apple's fight attracted national media attention. It's worth pointing out that Amazon is among the many tech companies that have publicly voiced support for Apple in fighting the court order to unlock the iPhone in question.

For what it's worth, Amazon says that it removed encryption from Fire OS 5 because customers simply weren't using it. Amazon considered encryption an "enterprise" feature that average consumers were not taking advantage of. But Amazon reiterates that its Fire devices still meet the company's high standards for privacy and security.

Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon.com and Apple. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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