back to article Amazon kills fondleslab file encryption with latest Fire OS update

Amazon is warning customers that the latest version of its Fire OS will disable storage encryption in Fire tablets and Kindles. The cyber-bazaar says people who want to keep files on their gadgets encrypted should not install the latest Fire OS 5. While Apple fights the good fight, @Amazon removes encryption as option from …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder what 3 letter US Government agency paid off Amazon?

    Choices, choices. There are just so so many with 3 letters...

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: I wonder what 3 letter US Government agency paid off Amazon?

      IRS?

    2. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: I wonder what 3 letter US Government agency paid off Amazon?

      In 2013 the CIA awarded a contract (then at $600M over 10 years) to Amazon for cloud services. After a bit of legal argy bargy with IBM Amazon got to keep the contract and started the build of the shiny new IC cloud. The US government is an important customer to Amazon. Its show piece role as a secure private cloud provider in an era of super-size government is a key marketing strategy.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Pretty bad choice

    Either lose encryption, or fall behind in OS updates and leave major security holes open.

    'Fire' was an appropriate branding - everyone who bought one just got burned!

    1. Cynical Observer
      Trollface

      Re: Pretty bad choice

      All those second hand ones turning up on eBay - guess it's a Fire sale

      On a serious note - was considering them as one option but that's just gone south.

    2. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: Pretty bad choice

      @DougS: Or the third option: Sell the tablet, and buy one from an vendor which does support encryption in the way required, which is just about any other tablet.

  3. adnim

    Dont ever

    use a device that the provider has access to the content of for anything one wishes to keep private.

    Need an obvious icon

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Dont ever

      I'll do the obligatory... This includes Windows 10 then.

  4. goldcd

    Try an nVidia Shield K1

    OK, bit off topic, and really just a plug as I'm so impressed with mine (but it does have lovely marshmallow, working encryption and a good fit to replace a Fire as a media consumption device).

    Main pitch is stupidly powerful processor, good screen, front-facing stereo speakers that go loud, SD card slot, working 'unified storage' (i.e. SD card can be used for any app), great reviews.

    Also it's a bargain at £150 - which means it's playing in pretty much the same ballpark as the Fires, despite kicking them on every spec.

    Fingerprint scanner aside, I can't think of any other android tablet at any price that's better.

    One thing to note though, is that the tablet SKU is literally "just the tablet" - cover, stylus and even a charger are additional extras. I sprang for the cover, which *ahem* is a bit ipaddy in design, but with addition of magnets to allow more angles rather than relying on geometry of the folds.

  5. Blofeld's Cat
    Childcatcher

    Oh well...

    That just made my selection of a tablet slightly easier.

    1. whoseyourdaddy

      Re: Oh well...

      Don't know anyone who owns one to worry about it.

  6. RISC OS

    "That information is now accessible to malicious actors if the device is lost or stolen."

    Always blame the thespians

    1. Fungus Bob

      Re: "That information is now accessible to malicious actors if the device is lost or stolen."

      Just the bad ones

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CyanogenMod awaits...

    Running my 8.9" Kindle HD (Jem) on CyanogenMod 12.1 (Android 5.1).

    One way out possibly.

    Lovely vivid screen, just takes a long time to charge BTW.

  8. Marcus Fil
    Go

    Silent Salute

    Amazon tips its hat at Apple's hard stance at FBI intrusion acknowledging its own testes are not quite so impressive - Apple's reward is an increase in tablet sales. Is Amazon's fire going out?

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    See icon.... that is all.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazon take the shine out of Top Gear in a grotesque way.

    I considered getting an Amazon Fire but I am so glad I did not.

    I truly hope this will turn out a commercial blunder that will cost them serious marketshare.

    1. Paw Bokenfohr

      Unfortunately, it won't, much as we might wish it would.

      I think that your average tablet user doesn't really know anything about encryption and I'd further hazard a guess that those who own Fire tablets know less than the average tablet user over all (excluding those already using third party OSs on them).

  11. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    Idiots

    The fire sales will end for users with at least adequate computer security awareness.

    I had considered one for non-media purposes, but won't any more...

    I refuse to get a Kindle too, because I detest the Amazon lock-in and the non-zero possibility of deletion of content!

    I have minimal trust for most mobile device security anyway, so limit how much information I keep on them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A quick question....

    ...but why would you have corporate data stored on a domestic product?

    Now if people were bitching about having access to all your personal stuff, I get it.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: A quick question....

      Corporate data on domestic product..

      Lets see, maybe the pressure some people perceive to "instantly" respond to emails out of hours e.g when at home but the company does not provide them with a phone / tablet so they use their own.

      Maybe there's a correlation between companies where implicit pressure to deal with work email at home & unwillingness to fork out for a device for the staffer to use at home?

    2. MondoMan
      Big Brother

      Re: A quick question....

      Gotta agree with LaF here -- I consider the Fires as cloud-based media-consumption devices only. If a Fire breaks, toss/return it and log into another and you're good to go. When elderly relatives have questions or even real problems, just hit Mayday and video chat with helpful customer service.

      It's already got all the benefits and intrusiveness drawbacks of cloud-based devices, so quibbling about device encryption seems moot. For personal/professional work and communications, I use a more standard tablet like a Nexus 7 or iPad -- works great.

    3. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: A quick question....

      "...but why would you have corporate data stored on a domestic product?"

      BYOD?

      Maybe Amazon doesn't any longer want the Fire to be acceptable for that purpose.

  13. Alan_Peery

    Grounds for return of defective product or class action suit

    As the Fire was originally sold with disk encryption, any removal of that ability would seem to render it "defective", and thus no longer meet the Product Quality portion of the Consumer Rights Act:

    http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

    In the US, it's probably grounds for a class-action suit along the same lines.

    IANAL

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Grounds for return of defective product or class action suit

      US law doesn't obligate them to provide any OS updates, and neither does UK law AFAIK. So how are you going to sue them, unless the OS update is forced on you? You have a choice, they warn you of the consequences of making that choice, so you can't sue them for taking away the encryption it was sold with when it was you who made the choice to do it.

      It is funny how the US has this sue-happy reputation, but it is always UK/EU folks who say "sue them" on The Reg. I know a lot of that has to do with their much better consumer protection laws, but it still makes me chuckle.

      1. Adam 1

        Re: Grounds for return of defective product or class action suit

        Maybe, maybe not. YMMV depending on how much companies have manage to get in the pocket of legislators.

        Here in Australia, the consumer law allows you to get a repair or refund (vendors choice btw) for a major fault.

        A product or good has a major problem when:

        it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it

        it is unsafe

        it is significantly different from the sample or description

        it doesn’t do what the business said it would, or what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed.

        That is arguably 4 from 4 on the definition of major fault.

        You are right to say that the upgrade is optional, but if they don't provide security patches on the older major version, that itself would be a major fault.

  14. Dave 32
    Unhappy

    Drat!

    Just got one for Christmas. Price was right. Functionality just went down the toilet, though. :-(

  15. shaunhw

    Let others provide the encryption then!

    They should provide an documented API, pre boot support etc. to allow third party full device encryption to be installed. Currently this isn't possible on IOS or Android but they would have a good excuse, if they couldn't decrypt such data wouldn't they ?

    Apple should consider this possibility too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let others provide the encryption then!

      Apple's encryption relies on UIDs burned into the chips during manufacture, a secure element that operates independently of the device's main CPU/RAM and dedicated encryption hardware on the read/write path to storage.

      You think opening all that up to a third party would INCREASE security? You're nuts.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022