Wickr Me, the free encrypted messaging app, will shut down on December 31, 2023 and stop accepting new user registrations on December 31, 2022, Wickr said in a blog post(Opens in a new window).
Platform acquired(Opens in a new window) by Amazon Web Services in June 2021 and offers secure end-to-end encrypted messaging including text, photos, videos and file attachments on Android, iOS, Mac and Windows devices.
The company added that it will shift its focus to securing “enterprise and public sector customer data and communications” with its non-consumer AWS Wickr and Wickr Enterprise platforms.
Wickr’s high-strength encryption, which the company claims “would take trillions of years(Opens in a new window)The crack has made it popular throughout the Department of Defense(Opens in a new window) agencies, as well as journalists and whistleblowers. Before being bought by Amazon last year, the company benefited from a $1.6 million investment(Opens in a new window) by Q-Tel, a funding arm of the CIA, and according to VICE had signed a $900,000 contract with US Customs and Border Protection.
However, the app has come under scrutiny for allegedly not doing enough to combat the sharing of child sexual abuse images: in June, NBC News reported(Opens in a new window) that Wickr Me had become a “destination” for such content; Wickr has also been used as a tool by dark net drug traffickers(Opens in a new window).
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In posting the shutdown announcement, the company said it is working to enable enterprise and public sector customers to communicate with individual users outside their network on AWS Wickr. Wickr added that it will provide more information in the coming months about what current Wickr Me customers can do to keep their data.
WhatsApp remains the largest free secure messaging app on the planet, but Signal and Telegram are other popular alternatives. Last month, Signal announced that it would end support(Opens in a new window) for unencrypted SMS in the Android app and said it was testing an Instagram-like stories feature.
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