FTC Fines Snapchat For Being Loosey-Goosey With Data

snapchat FTC fine

Snapchat entered into a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission for supposedly misleading users about data collection and inter-device privacy. Avoid the same outcome by making sure your apps and websites are outfitted with proper legal disclosures.

Why Did The FTC Go After Snapchat? (Answer: Playing Fast and Loose With Customer Data)

iOS7 Bug

Snapchat users can take screenshots of a “snap,” but the original user is supposed to get a notification when it happens. But the Federal Trade Commission reported that recipients with Apple devices running iOS 7 can exploit the app to avoid screenshot detection.

Encryption Issue

The FTC also reported that Snapchat stores videos on recipients’ devices without encryption, meaning the videos can be accessed even after “disappearing” on the Snapchat application.

Successful Hacker Breach

On top of all that, in January, hackers snagged a whole lot of valuable Snapchat user data. Making matters more complicated for the app company, security experts had warned Snapchat that the application was exploitable, but the company, allegedly, did little to fix the issue.

Android Issue

iOS users weren’t the only affected people. Android Snapchaters’ locations were also transmitted to the Snapchat servers, even though the company claimed it didn’t collect any information from users.

Snapchat Got The Same “Sweetheart” Punishment As Facebook Did For Beacon

Like Facebook before them, part of Snapchat’s FTC agreement requires the company to implement a 20-year privacy monitoring program, which will be overseen by an external privacy expert.
The FTC warned Snapchat that violation of the agreement will result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000 for each offense. Snapchat has since made some upgrades, reporting: “we continue to invest heavily in security and countermeasures to prevent abuse.”

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