In what seems to be an increasingly modern trend, hackers are claiming to have obtained thousands of private pictures and videos sent via the popular cell phone app, Snapchat.
To those of you who are unaware, Snapchat is a media based application that allows users to send and share captured pictures and videos with both friends and family. The catch is that the media which is sent will only be available to view for a limited duration; usually around ten seconds.
Users of this application have relied on this limited viewing window to send "risky" images, intended only for the recipient, and no one else; a practice known as "sexting." Snapchat's success can be attributed to the belief that the pictures will disappear after the designated duration has expired. However, users may now realize that this belief was based on nothing more than a fugacious claim on the part of the developer.
It must be pointed out however, that use of third-party applications, as well as the ability to capture screen shots on a persons' cell phone, have essentially made it impossible to send a Snapchat on the belief that after the time is up, the picture disappears forever.
This breach of privacy is especially disturbing because the main demographic of Snapchat users fall between the ages of 13 and 17. Considering the nature and use of the application, the main concern with this breach is that there has been a major leak of child pornography.
For a company that has built its reputation on the trust of thousands of users, this could be a critical blow to retaining customers and future growth. Federal law prohibits the production, distribution and possession of child pornography; this also includes obtaining any electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of pornography depicting a minor.
With that in mind, an interesting legal question arises; would the developers of Snapchat be in violation of federal law if it turns out the pictures the users send are not actually deleted and instead remain on Snapchat's own servers? An argument may be made that Snapchat is profiting illegally from child pornography which is stored on their servers.
Whatever the legal ramifications may be for the developer of Snapchat, one thing is certainly clearer: Users should always be cautious when sending sensitive information and should follow the assumption that what is sent out, will be viewed by numerous viewers.
The attorneys at Bleile & Dawson are extremely knowledgeable in criminal law, especially when it comes to defending our clients against wrongful accusations, whether in the State of Ohio or the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If you feel that you have wrongly been accused of a sex crime and seek to find the best possible representation to fight for you, hire a law firm that puts the client first and fights hard to protect the client. Contact us today for a completely confidential consultation at (513) 399-5945.