That NAKED SELFIE you sent on Snapchat? You may be seeing it again

Mobile firm pays up over data collection chicanery, accepts 20-year watchdogging


The developers behind the Snapchat photo-sharing app have agreed to a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over allegations of collecting and mishandling user data.

The Commission said that it has agreed with Snapchat to a set of measures that will be placed on the company that will include regular monitoring of the company's operations for the next 20 years.

The settlement will put to rest complaints filed by the FTC alleging that the company misled consumers when it claimed to offer self-deleting photos that could not be stored long-term. The FTC notes that in addition to enabling third-party applications to store Snapchat photos, the company kept data outside of the app sandbox and failed to disclose is geolocation tracking practices to users.

"If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keep those promises," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in announcing the settlement (PDF).

"Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action," she warned.

The complaint also references Snapchat's massive January data breach, in which the company admitted to exposing 4.6 million users' account details via an unpatched vulnerability in its API. The company was at the time criticized for failing to address the flaw in a timely manner.

The FTC noted that the breach could impact users beyond Snapchat as the harvested contact details could be used for phishing and spam operations.

Snapchat, meanwhile, admitted to making mistakes in the handling of data and it dealings with end users.

"While we were focused on building, some things didn't get the attention they could have. One of those was being more precise with how we communicated with the Snapchat community," the company said in a blog posting on the settlement.

"This morning we entered into a consent decree with the FTC that addresses concerns raised by the commission," the post continued. "Even before today's consent decree was announced, we had resolved most of those concerns over the past year by improving the wording of our privacy policy, app description, and in-app just-in-time notifications." ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Chip shortage forces temporary Raspberry Pi 4 price rise for the first time

    Don't worry, only the 2GB model is affected: Increasing by ten bucks to $45

    The price of a 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer is going up $10, and its supply is expected to be capped at seven million devices this year due to the ongoing global chip shortage.

    Demand for components is outstripping manufacturing capacity at the moment; pre-pandemic, assembly lines were being red-lined as cloud giants and others snapped up parts fresh out of the fabs, and the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak really threw a spanner in the works, so to speak, exacerbating the situation.

    Everything from cars to smartphones have felt the effects of supply constraints, and Raspberry Pis, too, it appears. Stock is especially tight for the Raspberry Pi Zero and the 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 models, we're told. As the semiconductor crunch shows no signs of letting up, the Raspberry Pi project is going to bump up the price for one particular model.

    Continue reading
  • Uncle Sam to clip wings of Pegasus-like spyware – sorry, 'intrusion software' – with proposed export controls

    Surveillance tech faces trade limits as America syncs policy with treaty obligations

    More than six years after proposing export restrictions on "intrusion software," the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has formulated a rule that it believes balances the latitude required to investigate cyber threats with the need to limit dangerous code.

    The BIS on Wednesday announced an interim final rule that defines when an export license will be required to distribute what is basically commercial spyware, in order to align US policy with the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement, an international arms control regime.

    The rule [PDF] – which spans 65 pages – aims to prevent the distribution of surveillance tools, like NSO Group's Pegasus, to countries subject to arms controls, like China and Russia, while allowing legitimate security research and transactions to continue. Made available for public comment over the next 45 days, the rule is scheduled to be finalized in 90 days.

    Continue reading
  • Global IT spending to hit $4.5 trillion in 2022, says Gartner

    The future's bright, and expensive

    Corporate technology soothsayer Gartner is forecasting worldwide IT spending will hit $4.5tr in 2022, up 5.5 per cent from 2021.

    The strongest growth is set to come from enterprise software, which the analyst firm expects to increase by 11.5 per cent in 2022 to reach a global spending level of £670bn. Growth has fallen slightly, though. In 2021 it was 13.6 per cent for this market segment. The increase was driven by infrastructure software spending, which outpaced application software spending.

    The largest chunk of IT spending is set to remain communication services, which will reach £1.48tr next year, after modest growth of 2.1 per cent. The next largest category is IT services, which is set to grow by 8.9 per cent to reach $1.29tr over the next year, according to the analysts.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021