Amazon shuts down Wickr. Consumer-focused encrypted chat software Wickr Me from Amazon Web Services (AWS), which stopped accepting new signups in December 2022, is silently coming to an end.
Wickr Me launched in 2012 and was acquired by Amazon in June 2021. Wickr released a statement on its corporate news blog. It says that the decision was made so that it could concentrate on secure communication solutions aimed at business users.
AWS Wickr and Wickr Enterprise are already available from the company. And it maintains its commitment to providing its users with “security and administrative tools meant to preserve important messages.”
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Amazon shuts down Wickr: issues with encryption
While it is apparent that financial considerations played a role in the decision—enterprises are more likely to use the service than consumers—there are also reasons to think that closing Wickr Me was a wise PR move.
NBC News uncovered 72 court cases involving the spread of sexual content involving kids on the site in June 2022. Wickr “certainly responds appropriately to, and cooperates with, law enforcement on these vital concerns.” Or so said an AWS spokeswoman said in response.
As CNBC notes, the software was just as much a shelter for terrorists, hackers, and drug dealers as it was for journalists and other people with well-intentioned privacy demands. In 2015 that the terrorist group Islamic State was allegedly utilizing Wickr Me as a recruitment tool.
Since being acquired by AWS in 2021, Wickr has come under fire for its work on federal contracts. Especially with organizations like Customs and Border Protection, which is noticeably omitted from its most recent announcement.
Additionally, it was discovered that the business helped destroy correspondence belonging to the US government.