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Snapchat

Snapchat

The reputation of Snapchat as an “ephemeral” photo messaging service took another blow Monday, when the app let it be known that it can — and will — share your snaps and (newly introduced) “stories” with the cops. There are two conditions, though: The snaps can’t have been opened by the recipient yet, and law enforcement needs to have a warrant. And while 350 million snaps are now sent every day, Snapchat has turned over unopened snaps to law enforcement “about a dozen times,” since May 2013, according to a company blog post.

Civilians can use several methods (as well as a new app called Snaphack) to save snaps, which are designed to disappear 30 seconds after opening, both from the recipient’s mobile device and from Snapchat’s own servers. The app company says as much in its privacy policy. “We cannot guarantee that deletion always occurs within a particular time frame. We also cannot prevent others from making copies of your Snaps (e.g., by taking a screenshot).”

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