Snapchat: Coming soon to a Courtroom near You
Snapchat users may find themselves questioning their security now that hackers released 4.6 million users information. Don’t worry, that double-chin selfie you sent to your best friend was not shared, but your username and phone number may be floating around cyberspace.
How Safe is Snapchat?
Snapchat prides itself on its no-save photo-sharing; however, how accurate is that claim? Let’s start with the facts:
- Snapchat does not store opened snaps. Once the user opens the snapchat, it is deleted immediately from Snapchat’s servers.
- Snapchat does store the user’s email, phone number, username, a snapchat log of the last 200 snaps sent and received (similar to a phone record) and the date the account was created.
- Unopened snapchats are stored on the Snapchat server for 30 days.
When Can Snapchat Access My Information?
Snapchat is governed by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and will release any information to authorities if presented with the proper legal process and documents. Because Snapchat does not store opened photos on its server, those pictures cannot be accessed through Snapchat. However, Snapchat may be asked to create a preservation request which would preserve all information from that moment forward.
So What’s the Big Deal?
Just because Snapchat does not store your old photos, you are not protected. Hackers, forensic experts and screenshot capabilities allow people to save or resurface your snapchats. Some companies are already offering a program to restore old snapchats, and hackers are showing how easily Snapchat can be manipulated.
Why Would Someone Want My Snapchats?
Because people believe snapchats cannot be saved, they are more likely to document their illicit behavior. Whether used to prove underaged drinking, to establish a relationship or to prove participation in other activities, snapchats will soon start showing up in courtroom evidence. Do not ever send a snapchat you would not want used against you. Sure, keep sending those goofy videos, but know that once a snapchat is gone, it is never deleted completely.