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Snapchat: Charged for being Stealthy

Recently PrivacyGrade initiative was under-taken by renowned university researchers to grade

the apps and its permission. It was the movement to expose the mischievous nature of the

application. There are many application which have millions of downloads in the Google Play

and trusted by the users across the globe but when the researchers saw the function of those apps

and the permissions they took from users, with that they have concluded that for the sake of

innocent end-user it’s better to rate the application so that end-user should not fall in the trap of

these applications, as they silently collects the data and user’s activity without the end-user’s

knowledge.Snapchat too was charged for deceiving customers and collecting the data without

user’s knowledge and permission. The Federal Trade Commission have given a public statement

that Snapchat which acclaims themselves to be a self-destructive application have misled their

users and subscribers about their data collection and retention methods and also failed to inform

or intimate users that they could even retain their text messages without their knowledge. This

was a shock for end-users as they trust this application despite of incidences like Snapchat

leakage and Snapchat hacks. But it seems like Snapchat is struggling to keep up the pace with

its information security policies and trying to become stealthy to know end-user’s behavior

patterns for their future innovations and marketing moves.

FTC’s Charges:

Federal Trade Commission highlighted their charge by stating that if a company portrays

themselves to give privacy and security to end user and embark this as their selling point to its

primary service given to the customer, then it becomes critical for them to deliver this promises.

If any company misrepresents themselves and fools customers about its privacy policy and their

security practices than it falls under FTC action, remarked by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.

Snapchat’s Response to The Charges:

Snapchat has been very clever in setting-up the response for the allegations. They haven’t

admitted nor denied any wrong doing from their part but they have agreed to settle this issue and

said that they will address these security concerns as soon as possible. As part of addressing

these issues, Snapchat will implement a strict privacy program that will be monitored by a third

part privacy expert group for next 20 years and Snapchat have already agreed on these terms

and conditions. Giants companies like Facebook, Google, Myspace etc. have agreed on the

similar conditions and have same set of privacy arrangements and controls in place. Snapchat

have charged for two charges primarily, deceiving users into making them think that their media

sharing services and data disappeared (but actually that isn’t the case) and as well as charges for

not securing their ‘Find Friends’ features.But good news for Snapchat is that there is no financial

component involved in this settlement so Snapchat doesn’t have to pay any amount but if they voliates

this agreement in the future that they have to pay civil penaltyup to $16,000 per violation and data

breaches.

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