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You see it all the time; in class, the library, a restaurant, on the metro, at a concert, in a club, the infamous picture, selfie, or video being taken on Snapchat. Snapchat, created in 2011 and then updated in 2013, is the universally known photo sharing application where people can send photos and videos in just one “snap.”  This application has created a new way of sharing information and pictures without a “trace.” Recipients of photos or videos are only allotted a time limit ranging from a minimum of 1 second to a maximum of 10 seconds.  After the allotted number of seconds is done, the picture or video is gone, never to be seen or recovered again, or so we think.  But, how private are Snapchats? Can Snapchats ever be resurfaced? The answer is yes, all Snapchats can be retrieved.

Nick Bilton explains in one of his New York Times blog posts that people need to read the privacy policies of social networks, such as Snapchat, a little more carefully. Snapchat’s privacy policies explain that although the images are technically deleted, they are stored and can be retrieved if necessary. Furthermore, this goes beyond Snapchat and other companies who have created social networks and applications like Snapchat.  The United States National Security Agency, also known as the NSA, monitors and tracks the technological footprint of all device users.  This goes for all social media networks, such as Facebook, Viber, Instagram, Snapchat, and more.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 9.30.38 PM

I have always heard rumors about companies and corporations uncovering and resurfacing old Snapchats that people thought were gone forever, however I did not believe that this was true.  I was very wrong.  After researching this topic, it really goes to show that no matter what is released on a computer or cell phone, it can be tracked and traced.  Whether it is an email, text message, Google search, pictures, videos, or Snapchats, these all leave technological fingerprint that can always be traced and retrieved.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 9.33.16 PMSnapchat users, as well as other social networking application users, need to understand that nothing is ever fully deleted or gone forever once it is released into the computer.  It is very important to keep in mind that it can always be found in cyber space, it is not ever truly lost or forgotten.  We live in a digital age, where technology surrounds our everyday lives, and people must be active users  by  reading the fine print about privacy and security policies for all social networks and applications.

Image taken as a screen grab from the website of Snapchat 

Featured image courtesy of Flickr user Photo Giddy

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