Snapchat Workers Stalked Users, Said Ex-Employees
Arnav Dhar - May 27, 2019
2 former employees at Snapchat claimed that many of their colleagues have illicitly access users' data.
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Employees from multiple different departments of encrypted messaging app Snapchat were found having exploited their privileges to illicitly access and stalk users' personal data for many years, according to a report from Motherboard.
Personal information, such as locations, saved photos, and videos on the platform, email addresses, was accessed by these workers using an internal program called SnapLion.
The news source may come from 2 ex-employees of the company, who claimed that their former colleagues had abused their privileges as workers to spy on users for many years.
If proved to be accurate, this scenario will be extremely ironic, since Snapchat is having nearly 200 million frequent users around the world, and privacy is its foremost priority. Snapchat said that it actually kept not much users' data, with efficient and strict methods to keep them in check; even the internal access was limited and any illicit abuse of privilege to access the data was against company's code of conduct, and anyone violated will be terminated right away.
Yet, whether the statement is real is still up in the air.
The so-called SnapLion tool is reportedly used for gathering users' data to serve the government's law enforcement requirements. While the device is a standard in the industry and is necessary for the company's policies to help people comply with laws, its use by the internal staff has been abused to spy on users and in non-legitimate context, according to 2 ex-employees.
As shown by an email involving in Motherboard's report, a department of the company which goes by the name "Customer Ops" has the right to access the tool, just like the security-tasked staff.
Motherboard said that they couldn't figure out how the spying actions are conducted and how the Snapchat employees specifically use SnapLion for their own purposes.
The issue raises a concern about our personal data on the internet. It is scary thinking that while we are giving individual companies our personal data in exchange for their services, the company itself can have unlimited access to decide what they want to know and find out about us to serve their benefits — as a result, protecting your data becoming more and more essential.