Wickr Me, Amazon’s encrypted chat app, is no longer accepting new users

Wickr Me, an Amazon-owned encrypted chat platform, stopped accepting new users after Dec. 31 and will shut down completely on Dec. 31 this year, according to an announcement from the company.

The decision, first announced in November, follows several controversies surrounding the ultra-secure chat app, which allowed users to register without a phone number or other potentially identifying information, making it a favorite for security-conscious groups, including hackers, drug traffickers and journalists.

In June, an NBC News investigation revealed that Wickr Me had become a go-to product for many people trading child sexual abuse material. The investigation identified 72 court cases from the past five years in which the defendant allegedly used Wickr (as it is commonly known) to exchange child sexual abuse material. Law enforcement officials and a representative from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children told NBC News at the time that Wickr was not doing enough to detect or report the trade in such material on its platform.

In a statement provided to NBC News in June, an Amazon Web Services spokesperson said, “Amazon is committed to preventing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in all segments of our business, including including Wickr, which maintains strict terms of service that clearly prohibit activity. We act quickly on reports of illegal behavior, respond immediately to requests from law enforcement, and take appropriate action. Anyone who violates our terms is subject to upon termination of his account.

“Wickr is absolutely responding appropriately and cooperating with law enforcement on these critical issues,” the spokesperson said.

In its November statement, the company explained that it was shutting down Wickr Me to dedicate more resources and focus on its business-to-business products, AWS Wickr and Wickr Enterprise. The message does not mention business he has with government agencies, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.

When NBC News attempted to create a new test account on the app on January 1, a pop-up appeared: “Wickr Me will not support new users starting December 31, 2022. Wickr Me will not be no longer available after Dec. 31. -2023.”

Wickr was founded in 2012, applying high-level encryption to a consumer email product. By 2015, the company had raised $39 million in funding. That same year, many media outlets reported that the Islamic State terrorist organization was using the app to recruit new members. In 2016, one of the first successful lawsuits against someone selling child pornography on the app was reported by the Deseret Morning News.

In June 2021, Wickr was acquired by Amazon Web Services. Since the acquisition, the company had faced questions about its government contracts with agencies such as Customs and Border Protection, and drawn attention to its role in records-related scandals in which enforcement was used to automatically destroy government communications.


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