After Facebook, Google, Whatsapp and even Amazon, this time it’s Snapchat which finds itself at the heart of a controversy surrounding its users’ personal data. According to an inquiry on website Motherboard on Thursday 23rd May, the network’s employees have secretly collected private information thanks to the system named SnapLion, which is supposed to serve as backup for users in case of harassment or legal requests.
Amongst the information collected, we find users’ location data, their email addresses, and videos and photos which they have saved on the app. According to a former employee at Snapchat quoted by Motherboard, the checks allowing access to the SnapLion tool are just not sufficient, especially with regard to the tool’s capabilities, which KultureGeek described as Snapchat’s “keys to the kingdom”. Some staff are said to have used this weakness to use the system without authorisation.
“Protecting your private life is Paramount at Snap. We keep very little user data, and we have robust policies and controls to limit internal access to the data we do have, including data within tools designed to support law enforcement. Unauthorized access of any kind is a clear violation of the company's standards of business conduct,” a Snapchat spokesperson quickly responded to Motherboard. The site did not clarify whether access to the tool was restricted internally since the revelation.
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