Snapchat discloses gov’t data requests in transparency report
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.