Killing Wickr

January 26, 2023

Encrypted messaging services are popular for privacy-concerned users as well as freedom fighters in authoritarian countries.  Tech companies consider these messaging services to be a wise investment, so Amazon purchased Wickr in 2020.  Wickr is an end-to-end encrypted messaging app and it was made available for AWS users.  Gizmodo explains that Wickr will soon be nonexistent in the article, “Amazon Plans To Close Up Wickr’s User-Centric Encrypted Messaging App.”

Amazon no longer wants to be part of the encrypted messaging services, because it got too saturated like the ugly Christmas sweater market.  Amazon is killing the Wickr Me app, limiting use to business and public sectors through AWS Wickr and Wickr Enterprise.  New registrations end on December 31 and the app will be obsolete by the end of 2023.  

Wickr was worth $60 million went Amazon purchased it.  Amazon, however, lost $1 trillion in stock vaguer in November 2022, becoming the first company in history to claim that “honor.”  Amazon is laying off employees and working through company buyouts.  Changing Wickr’s target market could recoup some of the losses:

“But AWS apparently wants Wickr to focus on its business and government customers much more than its regular users. Among those public entities using Wickr is U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That contract was reportedly worth around $900,000 when first reported in September last year. Sure, the CBP wants encrypted communications, but Wickr can delete all messages sent via the app, which is an increasingly dangerous proposition for open government advocates.”

Wickr, like other encryption services, does not have a clean record.  It has been used for illegal drug sales and other illicit items via the Dark Web.  At one time, Wickr might have been a source of useful metadata. Not now. Odd.

Whitney Grace, January 26, 2023


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