Amazon confirms encryption change

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon has removed the ability to encrypt locally stored data on its Fire tablets, saying that customers weren't using the service.

The change comes as Apple squares off against the FBI over access to an encrypted iPhone. Apple says giving the government access would make all other iPhones more vulnerable to hacks.

Amazon made the switch when it introduced its new Fire OS 5 in September 2015 with new Fire tablets. But it was brought to light this week as older versions of the tablets get operating system updates.

Encryption helps protect user data by scrambling it and only allowing access with a password.

Amazon removed some features, including encryption, from Fire OS 5 that "we found customers weren't using," said Amazon spokeswoman Robin Handaly.