Amazon reverses course, will allow local encryption

NEW YORK -- Amazon is reversing course and will let customers resume encrypting locally stored data on their Fire tablets.

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Amazon removed that ability last fall because it said customers weren't using the service, but the decision came under new scrutiny as Apple squares off against the FBI over access to an encrypted iPhone.

An Amazon spokeswoman said Saturday that a full encryption option will be offered in a Fire software update coming this spring.

Encryption protects user data by scrambling it and only allowing access with a password. Amazon removed device encryption, but communication between Fire devices and Amazon's cloud, and data stored within the cloud, is still encrypted.

Amazon is one of 15 companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, who filed court papers backing Apple in its fight with the FBI.



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