Remember when we realized that all those Snapchat “snaps” that were supposed to disappear could be accessed by just looking at the app’s directory on your phone via a third-party app? If you were upset, you weren’t alone. Turns out FTC was a bit miffed as well.
Today the FTC finalized charges against Snapchat for deceiving customers about the disappearing nature of messages sent through the service. If the messages are still retrievable, they aren’t really disappearing now are they?
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The FTC goes on to say, “Snapchat also deceived consumers over the amount of personal data it collected and the security measures taken to protect that data from misuse and unauthorized disclosure.” This has to do with Snapchat sucking down your contact list without telling you.
Snapchat won’t have to pay any fines for playing fast and loose with your data and potentially embarrassing photos. But it must, “implement a comprehensive privacy program that will be monitored by an independent privacy professional for the next 20 years.” It also must refrain from “misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy, security, or confidentiality of users’ information.”
Hopefully this will remind startups that user security should be more than just an afterthought.