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Yes, Snapchat misled you about how private your snaps are

May 8th, 2014 at 3:27 PM
Snapchat FTC Privacy Lawsuit

Gee, what a shock: Your Snapchat snaps don’t really “disappear forever” after all. The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday announced that it had reached a settlement with Snapchat in which it said that Snapchat’s marketing claim that any pictures sent over its app would “disappear forever” was simply misleading. One issue, says the FTC, is that Snapchat’s “disappear forever” promise is one that it simply cannot keep, especially when there are several third-party applications out there let you capture and keep any pictures and videos sent over the app.

But that’s not all: The FTC also says that “Snapchat stored video snaps unencrypted on the recipient’s device in a location outside the app’s ‘sandbox,’ meaning that the videos remained accessible to recipients who simply connected their device to a computer and accessed the video messages through the device’s file directory,” which means that even if you discount third-party apps, Snapchat should have known that it couldn’t promise all of your snaps would be completely erased.

As part of the settlement, Snapchat will need to change how it markets its service so that it no longer misrepresents “the extent to which it maintains the privacy, security, or confidentiality of users’ information,” the FTC says.

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