Snapchat dis­closes gov’t data re­quests in trans­parency re­port

The China Post - - BUSINESS -

Snapchat, the so­cial net­work for users who like the se­cu­rity of dis­ap­pear­ing mes­sages, re­leased its first trans­parency re­port Thurs­day show­ing hun­dreds of re­quests from U.S. and for­eign law en­force­ment agen­cies.

Be­tween Nov. 1 and Feb. 28, Snapchat said it re­ceived 375 re­quests from U.S. law en­force­ment of­fi­cials, and handed over at least some user data in 92 per­cent of those cases.

“While the vast ma­jor­ity of Snapchat­ters use Snapchat for fun, it’s im­por­tant that law en­force­ment is able to in­ves­ti­gate il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity,” Snapchat said in a blog post.

“We want to be clear that we com­ply with valid legal re­quests.”

The re­quests were mostly in the form of sub­poe­nas, war­rants or court or­ders, along with a smaller num­ber of emer­gency re­quests.

Out­side the U.S., Snapchat re­ceived 28 re­quests and pro­duced data in six of those cases. The re­quests came from Bri­tain, Bel­gium, France, Canada, Ire­land, Hun­gary and Nor­way.

Snapchat joins other ma­jor tech firms that have re­leased sim­i­lar data in­clud­ing Google, Ya­hoo, Face­book, Twit­ter and Mi­crosoft.

Like most of its peers, Snapchat said it op­posed ef­forts to give law en­force­ment spe­cial ac­cess through “back­doors.”

“Pri­vacy and se­cu­rity are core val­ues here at Snapchat and we strongly op­pose any ini­tia­tive that would de­lib­er­ately weaken the se­cu­rity of our sys­tems,” the blog post­ing said.

“We’re com­mit­ted to keep­ing your data se­cure and we will up­date this re­port bi-an­nu­ally.”

The re­port did not in­clude data on U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity re­quests, which may only be re­leased af­ter a six-month de­lay.

“Even though Snapchat has pro­moted user pri­vacy and au­ton­omy since its found­ing, we’ve only re­cently been able to sys­tem­at­i­cally track and re­port re­quests for user in­for­ma­tion,” the com­pany said.

It said it will pub­lish more de­tails in July on gov­ern­ment re­quests and de­mands to re­move con­tent.

Snapchat last year re­port­edly re­jected a US$3 bil­lion takeover by Face­book and was later val­ued at some US$10 bil­lion fol­low­ing a pri­vate eq­uity round of in­vest­ment.

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