Snapchat settlement with FTC reveals even more security offenses

May 8, 2014
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Snapchat may be trying to make peace with the FTC, but it might have also dug its own grave in the process. Documents now reveal how the beleaguered "ephemeral" messaging service not only has not done what it promised to do, but that it has also done what it promised not to do.

The main selling point of Snapchat was supposedly its privacy and security, allowing users to send images and messages that would self-destruct after it had already been viewed. It has lately been put on the hotseat after security exploits have been exposed, It seems, however, that those were only the tip of the iceberg. The complaint brought about by the FTC mentioned even more critical security problems that the company has failed to address and even some privacy intrusions that violated Snapchat's own promises.

Despite the so-called "ephemeral" nature of Snapchat messages, the photos that were sent were apparently stored unecrypted on the recepient device and can simply be retrieved by anyone traversing the file system. Third-party apps also did not honor Snapchat's promise of not saving those data, something with Snapchat was accused of ignoring even after being informed of the issue. Perhaps even more worrying is that Snapchat was accused of continually misrepresenting its privacy policies and doing things behind users' backs. For one, it collected geolocation information from Android users even when its privacy policy explicitly said it wouldn't. Snapchat's Find Friends feature was also discovered to collect names and numbers of all entries in a user's addressbook even if it said it would only get the user's own contact information.

Snapchat has agreed to settle the charges brought by the FTC and will be ordered to amend its policies and patch its security holes. Naturally, Snapchat wants to have the last word on the matter and boasts that those issues have long been fixed even before it has reached this settlement, though Snapchat's record might make it hard to believe such a proud claim.

VIA: SlashGear


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