Snapchat – The New Video Messaging App

Snapchat is a video and photos sending device which was founded as a final year project by the

then Stanford University students Evan Speigel and Bobby Murphy. The application known as

Snapchat was first launched as “Picaboo” in Speigel’s father’s drawing room. Later they brought

Reggie Brown to modify the product for them and the product was later renamed and relaunched

as Snapchat. The photos which we send through Snapchat are known as snaps therefore the name

Snapchat. There is a specific time limit within which one is able to see the snaps after which they

are hidden from the recipient’s device. And as for the videos one can view them umpteen times

within a period of 24 hours after which they to get deleted. However this app was misused by

some university students to spread derogatory messages about their fellow classmates which

ultimately led to the deletion of this group account permanently from the Snapchat server.

Snapchat’s Privacy And Security Concern’s:

Snapchat’s privacy settings have time and again come under the scanner and it once again came

under the radar in December,2013 when a report was published in the and the Gibson

security. Two exploits publish in the reports allow the user names to be associated with the

user’s phone number regardless of the user’s privacy setting. And this allows the bulk

downloading of the user’s personal details via the Snapchat’s API. According to the Ars

Technica reports in December, 2013 the Gibson’s security attempted to bring the exploits in

front of Snapchat in August , 2013. However, no response has been given nor have the exploits

have been addressed.

Government’s Take On Snapchat:

On the 2014report the government awarded only one star to the Snapchat application out of the

six possible stars. This probably due to the test has to how the app protects the user’s data from

government’s request. This means that the government can access very extraordinary and

sensitive information about your activities and communication without even convincing a judge

that there is a probable cause to collect it. This report is very troubling because there is a lot of

user sensitive data that is being posted by the user’s such as their own personal photos on that

apps server. The report suggested that as there is a large number of user and nonuser photos on

Snapchat, Snapchat should publicly admit the fact and issue a warrant before turning over the

content of its users communication to law enforcement. In return Snapchat denied the EFF’S

claim that it supplies information to the government without any specific warrant. Snapchat’s

spokeswoman Mary Ritti commented that the company routinely requires a warrant if the law

enforcement are asking for any user data.

Secure Messaging Score Card:

On November 04, 2014 Snapchat scored a 2 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier

Foundation secure messaging score card. This was basically because the user’s can’t identify the

contact identities. It lost points because the communication are not encrypted with a key (which

means that communications are not end-to-end encrypted). Past messages are not secure if the

encryption keys are stolen. The codes are not open to independent reviews. And the security

design are not properly documented.

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