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Teach Your Kids About The Dangers Of Snapchat

October 30, 2013 Published by Rajesh Goel

Snapchat is a popular service for high-school & college kids to use in place of texting, and sharing naughty photos.

The savvy kids know that sending SMS/texts or emails isn’t safe and more and more, they’re using services such as SNAPCHAT, WhatsApp, Vine, etc.

The promise of Snapchat was that the texts, photos and videos were self-deleting.

If Mike used SnapChat to send Jane photos of himself, as soon as Jane saw them, the photos were deleted.

Great for sending nude/semi-nude and crude photos, right? Awesome for flirting and gossiping, right?

WRONG!

As SnapChat admitted in a recent blog post (at http://blog.snapchat.com):

Storage

As mentioned in our previous blog post, Snaps are deleted from our servers after they are opened by their recipients. So what happens to them before they are opened? Most of
Snapchat’s infrastructure is hosted on Google’s cloud computing service, App Engine. Most of our data, including unopened Snaps, are kept in App Engine’s datastore until they are deleted.

Retrieval

Is Snapchat capable of retrieving unopened Snaps from the datastore? Yes—if we couldn’t retrieve Snaps from the datastore, we wouldn’t be able to deliver them to their recipients desired by the sender. Do we manually retrieve and look at Snaps under ordinary circumstances? No. The ordinary process of sending Snaps to their recipient(s) is automated.

So what is a circumstance when we might manually retrieve a Snap, assuming it is still unopened? For example, there are times when we, like other electronic communication service providers, are permitted and sometimes compelled by law to access and disclose information. For example, if we receive a search warrant from law enforcement for the contents of Snaps and those Snaps are still on our servers, a federal law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) obliges us to produce the Snaps to the requesting law enforcement agency. For more information, see the section of our Privacy Policy that discusses circumstances when we may disclose information.

Simply put, from the moment messages are sent and until they are opened OR as long as Law Enforcement asks SnapChat to keep the messages, they will. Educate your high school kids, college kids and new hires that NOTHING IS PRIVATE ON THE INTERNET. Do NOT trust companies that promise to “hide” your communications.

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