Consumer-centric Amazon Web Services (AWS). encrypted chat app Wickr Me is quietly shutting down after registration closes in December 2022.
After being acquired by Amazon in June 2021 after Wickr Me first launched in 2012, Wickr said in announcement (opens in a new tab) on her corporate news blog that the move was made so she could focus on encrypted communications solutions aimed at corporate users.
The company already has the private chat apps AWS Wickr and Wickr Enterprise and says it remains committed to offering these customers “security and administrative features designed to protect sensitive communications.”
While there is no denying that the decision is partly motivated by money, with corporate customers more likely to purchase the service than consumers, there is also reason to believe that shutting down Wickr Me is also a prudent PR move.
in June 2022 NBC News (opens in a new tab) detected 72 court cases in the last five years regarding the spread of sexual material involving minors on the platform. an AWS spokesperson responded by claiming that “Wickr is absolutely appropriately responding and cooperating with law enforcement on these critical matters.”
As pointed out by CNBC, the application was both a safe haven for drug dealers, hacking groups and terrorists, as well as for journalists and others who in good faith need privacy. In 2015, news outlets reported that the terrorist organization Islamic State was using Wickr Me as a recruitment tool.
Since AWS acquired Wickr in 2021, the company has come under scrutiny for working on government contracts with agencies such as Customs and Border Protection, which is clearly not in its latest announcement.
So was the company found (opens in a new tab) to facilitate the destruction of U.S. government communications.
Through CNBC (opens in a new tab)