Snap Chat Privacy Issues

The Snap Chat application for the iPhone and Android is creating a lot of buzz among teenagers.  With this feature, users are able to share photos and videos with others at lightning fast speed while mandating the length of time they are available for viewing.  If the recipient attempts to save a screenshot, the sender is alerted right away.  The images and videos disappear once they are opened and the allotted viewing time expires.  This range of time varies from one to ten seconds, and the sender may only retrieve the content if they saved it at the preview stage.

This application affords teenagers with what appears to be the perfect opportunity to send images and videos filled with extremely graphic material.  Many are under the impression that what they transmit has no chance of coming back to haunt them since everything magically disappears after a few seconds.  However, this is definitely not the case.  A further examination of the privacy statement and results of application testing supports this claim.

Privacy Issues

Snap Chat asserts that they have no access to photos and videos the sender transmits, and the content quickly vanishes once opened by the recipient.  However, the privacy statement indicates that all images stored after processing are not always deleted instantaneously.  In some cases, messages may never be deleted.  Senders should also be aware that recipients can capture the image on the screen using another mobile device.  Therefore, the sender is solely responsible for all of the contents they submit.

If deemed necessary, Snap Chat will share any information with law enforcement that enables their organization to comply with the law and their terms.

Do The Messages Really Ever Disappear?

Recently, it was discovered through testing that images and videos transmitted are easy to resurrect from the internal storage of the iPhone and Android phones.

Recipients have also found a way to circumvent the screenshot notification.  All the user has to do is plug up their phone to a computer, locate the Snap Chat file and save unopened images and videos to the hard drive.

Snap Chat recently announced that they are working on fixes to the storage bugs.  However, this means that the images and videos can continue to be stored until this happens.  Therefore, teenagers should use good judgment and refrain from sending potentially incriminating photos or videos that may go viral and yield severe repercussions.

Contact Without A Trace Investigations  for help with this issue.

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