Snapchat’s message doesn’t go away: You can trust us

It won’t be easy. Not long after he joined, Snapchat suffered another major spam attack. Boutros set up a war room to deal with spammers. “We went from a bad situation, to where it is very difficult for spammers to create an account,” he said.

Throughout all of it, Snapchat’s biggest security problem remains – outsiders figured out how to access supposedly secret corporate APIs, then spammed or created third-party apps. father. Some of those apps suggested users violate Snapchat’s terms of service by capturing and storing Snaps on a regular basis. When one of those apps, called Snapsaved, compromised and taken away, the culprit posted more than 90,000 photos and videos online. Though Snapchat itself does not directly fall victim to the so-called SnappeningSnapchat admits that the company should have been more proactive in stopping third-party services. And during our meeting, the executives reiterated their apologies for that incident.

Now Snapchat is doing more to support third-party apps, Sehn said. This week’s announcement that the bolstered APIs – in fact enough to troubleshoot a third-party problem – is more of a binary switch than an acknowledgment of an ongoing effort. Just check the iTunes App Store to see what users of endangered third-party apps are saying today. In SnapCrack review, promising to “save everything you get from your friends,” commenters were disappointed that the app they bought for $ 5 didn’t work. One iTunes App Store reviewer wrote: “This one used to be the best. “And now for the past few days, it kept announcing that it couldn’t connect to the Snapchat server. Need to update, something, anything! “

Not only did Snapchat partner with Apple and Google to try to block apps in their store that violated Snapchat’s terms of service, it also started to crack down on users who installed those apps. The first is a warning, then, if the user continues to use a third-party app, Snapchat will lock the account. Snapchat hopes these measures will no longer be needed, as it now feels that it has strengthened its foundation to push back all of the back-end apps. (And you can’t resolve this by using an older version of Snapchat; the company now requires users to upgrade to the current version of the app.)

“We never wanted third-party apps on our platform,” Sehn said. “We’ve created a product where it’s more important than ever that we control the end-user experience. We have made commitments to our users. “

In short, Snapchat now feels that it has tackled the early flaws that, in my view, were the understandable shortcomings of a small group overwhelmed by explosive growth. Snapchat has changed its privacy policy to reflect the actual risks of exposure to Snaps (and this policy is written in easy-to-read English, a rarity for such documents). Even a tough privacy advocate like EPIC’s Rotenberg said he currently has no complaints with the company. “We are very pleased to see that the problem is fixed,” he said. “We want these [ephemeral] available services. But you cannot present yourself as a privacy protection and non-distribution service.

Snapchat, however, benefits from that corporate ethos. While insisting that Snapchat is in compliance with its obligations to users, its executives wanted us not to view Snapchat as a “security service”, but as an interesting means of communication. and navigation.

Even acknowledging that view, some privacy activists complain that Snapchat still has a way to go. Their biggest complaint is that Snapchat doesn’t use end-to-end encryption. End-to-end implementation means that from when someone creates a Snap until the recipient sees it immediately, the image or video is shuffled in a way that no one can see – even not Snapchat itself. Many major messaging companies (especially Apple) have adopted this approach, outraging the FBI and other national security and law enforcement. “This is a responsible way to roll out the messaging service in 2015,” said Christopher Soghoian, ACLU’s main technician.

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