Telling users that if their private pictures have been breached, it’s their own fault for using a third-party service does not strike this privacy blogger as a great PR move – even if a”tough user love” approach deflects some threats of lawsuits or blame. Yet that’s what Snapchat has seemingly done in the wake of another breach. Dave Lee of BBC reports:
“We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed.”
However, security researchers said Snapchat had to take more responsibility over user data.
“For them to just turn round and say, ‘It’s the users’ fault,’ does seem harsh,” said Mark James, a security specialist from ESET.
“They give the perception it is safe, they need to make it safe. They need to crack down on people’s ability to access their data.”
Read more on BBC.
I do not see any statement on Snapchat about this incident at this time.
So could and should Snapchat do more as some people have suggested? If so, what do you think they can or should do differently?
That issue aside (for now), there may be some good news for those who had their private images stolen. A statement has been posted on Pastebin. Although its authenticity cannot be verified, it would certainly be good news if those in possession of snaps decided not to leak them publicly:
I wish to begin this release with the following: I WILL NOT BE LEAKING ANY CONTENT FROM SNAPSAVED OR SNAPCHAT. Normally I would apologize to people I have misled, but in this case, I have decided against doing so. The content that has been released over the last 48 hours is an invasion of personal privacy. I do not condone this action or any like it. I understand the want and need for this content by what seems like a large section of the Internet. Normally, I am completely for the freedom of information and the free flow of content through the Internet; however, this “snappening” will aid no one and hurt us in the end.
Over the last few days, content has been leaked from a site called Snapsaved.com. The content released from this site was provided to us by the administrator of the site. Users could freely browse all media on this website, and view as per user account. When the site became unusable, the administrator compiled a full directory of the content and uploaded it to an un-indexed website where you could freely download it.
These images were saved by individuals on the aforementioned website, so they could freely browse their saved SnapChat images. SnapChat service is supposed to provide a temporary means of transferring images and videos to your friends, family and acquaintances. Multiple times over the last few years the privacy element of SnapChat has been questioned and rightly so. Due to the misconception of SnapChat’s business model, people have the illusion that media they send will be temporary and cannot be saved. They have put their faith in a system that is clearly broken and I wish to raise awareness to this fact.
I have witnessed over the last 48 hours the trending nature of this topic and I have seen how the media really reports on happenings to do with 4chan. They have assumed and misinformed the public on this topic. To make this very clear, SnapChat has not been hacked. This was a service used by people to save SnapChat media. While the leaks originated on 4chan without seeing any proof, they assumed and wrongly so, that the archive that was taken from Snapsaved mainly comprised of child pornography. From what I have gathered from individuals on the Internet, there is little to no child pornography in this archive.
These images were not collected by people on the Deep Web and on perverted underground chatrooms as the media has been reporting. The majority of these images are of normal ever day activities; walking to school, showing off your new haircut or cooking a meal.
I now wish to address the current content holders and possible collectors of this media. Consider for a moment the images of 200,000 people being leaked at once. Do you think that’s a good thing for the Internet? Do you think that will keep our Internet free? I understand there was already a partial leak of videos and images earlier today. I want possible downloaders of this content to understand that this is personal privacy we are invading. I don’t want to come off as a social justice warrior but we constantly fight on a daily basis for Internet freedoms. If this content is posted/leaked it will just be playing into the hands of the individuals who wish to actively monitor all Internet activity. Please for the sake of the Internet we enjoy and love every day, do not leak this content.
I’ll sign off this release by saying I never imagined a story like this having such a global effect. I wish to apologize to anyone that was affected by these happenings. It was not my intention to pervert your personal property. I hope if anything this will bring attention and awareness to the fact that you should, if at all possible, never send explicit images of yourself over a medium which you do not directly control. In short, I will NOT be leaking any content today, tomorrow, or ever. I wish for these images and videos to remain private for the benefit of both the Internet and of personal privacy. I wish you all the best and please think before you post.