Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Eliminate costly downtime!
Find out how with Free White Paper
& enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Cloud Computing
Tame your scariest paperwork. Find Out How
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Snapchat Settles with FTC over Misleading Privacy Claims
Snapchat Settles with FTC over Misleading Privacy Claims

By Seth Fitzgerald
May 8, 2014 4:31PM

    Bookmark and Share
If Snapchat violates terms of the FTC settlement, the civil penalty could be as much as $16,000 for each violation, amounting to millions of dollars. Under the settlement, Snapchat is barred from misrepresenting how it maintains users' privacy. Snapchat also must put in place a privacy program that will be independently monitored for 20 years.
 



Snapchat has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over misleading privacy claims, which had suggested that messages, photos and videos sent through the app could not be stored. The main attraction to Snapchat since it was first released has been the way messages are received and subsequently destroyed after a few seconds. Many users had interpreted this feature to mean that Snapchat messages go away forever, but the FTC found that was not the case.

Snapchat has said in its marketing that messages sent through the app "disappear forever." But the FTC showed more than one way that the disappearing messages could actually be saved without a sender being notified. One of Snapchat's features tells senders if a recipient takes a screen shot of a message, but that notification service doesn't work all the time, the FTC said. And some third-party apps can be used to save the messages.

Not an Admission

Snapchat did not admit to any wrongdoing in its settlement with the FTC, and no fines were levied. Instead, Snapchat will only be forced to pay a fine if it violates terms of the settlement. At that point, the civil penalty could be as much as $16,000 for each violation, amounting to millions of dollars in total. Under the settlement, Snapchat is barred from misrepresenting how it maintains users' privacy. The company also will be required to put in place a privacy program that will be independently monitored for 20 years.

The privacy concerns surrounding Snapchat are not new either. Earlier this year, many people criticized the company after a security breach left 4.6 million phone numbers and usernames exposed.

That breach also put Snapchat's "Find Friends" feature into the spotlight. Find Friends allowed the app to search through a phone's address book in order to find people in it who were also signed up for the applications. As a result, there was a massive amount of data collected by the app that the FTC says the company did not secure well enough. Had Snapchat more effectively secured the data, a significant security breach may have been avoided.

Ineffective Features

The FTC's primary set of complaints was directed at Snapchat's privacy features, which are frequently ineffective. Based upon its investigation, the FTC found that users on a phone running iOS 6 or below are able to get around the app's screenshot detection feature.

Along with users being able to secretly take screenshots of messages, video chats were also not erased from a phone once they no longer appeared in the graphical interface of the app. Even though all messages, whether they be photos, texts, or videos could "self-destruct," they did not actually disappear. Instead, the FTC says that videos ended up being stored in a device's file directory without any sort of encryption.

With the messages in a phone's directory, users could then access the videos with ease, even though they were no longer supposed to be accessible. As a result, it appeared as though some of Snapchat's seemingly beneficial features did not actually protect user privacy.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Get Powerful App Acceleration with Cisco. In a world where time is money, you need to accelerate the speed at which data moves through your data center. Cisco UCS Invicta delivers powerful, easy-to-manage application acceleration for data-intensive workloads. So you can make decisions faster and outpace the competition. Learn More.


 Cloud Computing
1.   Oracle Updates Database, Linux Products
2.   Cloud Wars: AWS vs. Microsoft, IBM
3.   Yammer Moved to Office 365
4.   IBM, California Partner in the Cloud
5.   Dropbox for Business Boosts Security


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Tor Internet Privacy Service Warns Users It Was Breached
You may never have heard of the Tor Project, but the Internet privacy service is making headlines. Tor’s devs say users might be victims of an attack launched against the project earlier this year.
 
Canadian Government Charges China With Cyberattack
The government of Canada is not happy with China. Canadian officials have accused "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" of launching a cyberattack on its National Research Council.
 
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
AMD's ARM-Based Opteron Out in $3K Dev Kit
It's dubbed "Seattle" and it's AMD's first 64-bit ARM-based Opteron processor. The low-power chip is being released as part of AMD’s Opteron A1100-series developer kit, and aimed at high-end data center needs.
 
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Dell, BlackBerry Not Sweating Apple-IBM Alliance
IBM's recent move to partner with Apple to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Virgin Mobile Offers Custom Smartphone Plans
As the wireless carrier wars continue heating up, Virgin Mobile just threw the customization coal onto the fire. The firm has debuted a no-annual-contract plan with rates based on individual use.
 
Collaboration Provider Asana Revamps Mobile App
Asana, a collaboration software provider started by a Facebook founder, is now out with a rebuilt native iOS mobile app. It replaces one that even the company admits was not up to par.
 
Facebook: You Will Use Messenger, and You Will Like It
Starting this week, Facebook users with Android and iOS phones will be forced to use the separate Messenger app to send Facebook messages. Pending messages will still be visible in the main app.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.