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Amazon Acquires Privacy-Focused Chat App Wickr Used by Govt Agencies and Enterprises

Wickr

Wickr

Launched in 2012, Wickr services offer popular messager tools like group chats, E2E and ad-free messaging experience, and voice calling.

Amazon has announced the acquisition on Wickr, the messaging company known for Wickr Me – a private messenger that offers end-to-end encryption (E2E) across chats. Unlike most messaging platforms, Wickr Me does not require a phone number or email address to register but needs contacts access permission to enable 1:1 or group chats. The app is said to be popular among US officials and journalists, while the company also offers Wickr Enterprise and Wickr Pro for medium/ large organisations. There’s also a Wickr RAM designed for the military that is not listed on public app stores. The new development was shared by Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at Amazon Web Service (AWS) Stephen Schmidt, who previously spent nearly a decade at the US FBI, as per his LinkedIn profile. Amazon has not disclosed the details of the deal including the acquisition amount.

Amazon explains that enterprises and government agencies have a growing desire to protect their communications as they move to hybrid work environments is accelerating amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Wickr’s secure communications solutions help enterprises and government organisations adapt to this change in their workforces and is a welcome addition to the growing set of collaboration and productivity services that AWS offers customers and partners," the e-commerce giant said in a blog post. The company notes that Wickr Me will continue to remain free and users can download the app via Google Play and Apple App Store. According to the Apple App Store privacy label, the Wickr Me and Wickr Pro track ‘Contact Info,’ ‘Identifiers,’ ‘Usage Data,’ and ‘Diagnostics.’ The Wickr Enterprise that competes with Slack, does not track any data, the App Store privacy label reveals.

Launched in 2012, Wickr services offer popular messager tools like group chats, E2E and ad-free messaging experience, and voice calling. It also offers ephemeral messaging that essentially automatically deletes messages from a particular chat after a set period of time. Though the point of ephemeral-messaging is to not store any data on servers for security purposes, Wickr Enterprise allows organisations to selectively log communication sessions for auditing purposes. It is unclear whether Wickr’s proximity to Amazon will impact its relations with the military and US officials.

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