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Snapchat Search Warrants Emphasize Data Vulnerability 105

Nerval's Lobster writes "This year's revelations about NSA surveillance have upended the idea that our data—any of it—is truly secure from prying eyes. That uncertainty has sparked the rise of several businesses with a simple proposition: you can send whatever you want via their online service (text, images, video), and that data will vaporize within seconds of the recipient opening it up. One of the most popular of those services is Snapchat, which allows users to take "Snaps" (i.e., videos or photos) that self-destruct a few seconds after the recipient opens them; that data also disappears from the company's servers. But is 'disappearing' data truly secure from prying eyes? Earlier this week, Snapchat admitted to a loophole in its schema that leaves Snaps open to viewing by law enforcement — provided the latter shows up at the company's front door with a warrant. Until a recipient opens a Snap, it's stored in the company's datacenter. In theory, law enforcement could request that Snapchat send it an unopened Snap. 'If we receive a search warrant from law enforcement for the contents of Snaps and those Snaps are still on our servers,' read an Oct. 14 posting on Snapchat's corporate blog, 'a federal law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) obliges us to produce the Snaps to the requesting law enforcement agency.' Law-enforcement entities have hit Snapchat with 'about a dozen' search warrants for unopened Snaps since May 2013. 'Law enforcement requests sometimes require us to preserve Snaps for a time, like when law enforcement is determining whether to issue a search warrant for Snaps,' the blog continued. That surveillance could also go beyond unopened Snaps: Snapchat 'Stories,' or a cluster of Snaps, live on the company's servers for up to 24 hours and can be viewed multiple times, which broadens the window for law enforcement to poke its way in."
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Snapchat Search Warrants Emphasize Data Vulnerability

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  • Re:So basically... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @12:52PM (#45144597) Homepage

    So basically the COURTS sign the warrants because of LEGISLATION that allows them to have this authority, and you should take issue with the Legistatures and Judicial bodies who exercise authority to tell companies what to do.

    It is all well and good that a company says they will do what they can, but all this authority comes from the laws and lawyers, not the server admins, not even the cops.

  • Re:Court Order (Score:5, Informative)

    by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @12:52PM (#45144605) Journal

    1) don't put yourself in a situation where someone wants a court order for something you have
    2) ignoring 1, don't send incriminating evidence electronically
    3) Ever
    4) If you're stupid enough to ignore 1-3, pass one time, strong passwords in person, then encrypt your files locally and send them by any means you aren't supposed to be using based on 1-3, above. Then destroy your copy of the password and the entire computer you used to create, encrypt, or send the message.

    Though, really, sticking with 1 and 2 is your best bet.

  • Re:RetroShare (Score:4, Informative)

    by lister king of smeg ( 2481612 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @01:49PM (#45145285)

    RetroShare baby.

    I like retroshare. I have installed in my computers. the problem is; get everyone to use it call me when you have that one figured out.
    All the people I have talked to trying to get them to use it fall into one a of a couple of camps.

    1. they think that all encryption is somehow back-doored by the NSA/CIA/FBI/DOD/$InsertThreeLetterAgency anyway so it is a exercise in futility.
    2. they think they are too boring or have nothing to hide
    3. they think your tinfoil hat wearing paranoid.

    The media constantly actively attacks Snowden and Assange for being horrible "narcissistic treasonous traitor" and smear Manning for being Gay. Or plain Ignore the leaks.
    The politicians don't care or support spying.
    The spys lie to congress and nothing happens and worse get put in charge of their own oversight.
    The courts are conspiring with the spys. see fisa courts
    The corperations compete to see who can bend over the farthest, those that don't get destroyed see lavabit.
    And finally the people are either to apathetic ignorant or paranoid to do anything.

    whats a cryptogeek to do?

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur