Snapchat Employees Reportedly Stalked Their Users Using ‘SnapLion’
Shackcham Mirchandani - May 24, 2019
There are rumours about Snapchat snooping on user, yet not to be confirmed
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As reported by Motherboard, a tool called ‘SnapLion’ is capable of storing email addresses, phone numbers, and locations of Snapchat users. We do not know how widespread the problem is, but a former employee of the company stated that this kind of abuse had happened several times in the past, meaning that Snapchat might have been snooping on users since forever.
In the report, Motherboard confirmed that they spoke to 4 former employees in total and verified that ‘SnapLion’ actually exists. Two of those employees mentioned that the tool abuse did happen a few years later, but they did not if it still happens these days. Motherboard revealed emails of an employee taking advantage of the tool to search for an email address that has nothing to do with the law. Regarding this situation, Snapchat refused to give an immediate answer to a request of comments.
The significant factor of this case is that Snapchat made it too easy for their employee to get access to such a tool like ‘SnapLion,’ where they can use it for internal and irrelevant purposes such as dealing with spam and abuse on its own platform. Yet a tool like ‘SnapLion’ is surely not unique to Snapchat, and neither does this kind of data abuse. Given the fact that this situation is confirmed to have happened a few years ago, Snapchat might as well be familiar with it.
As for Facebook, there was a case when they caught one of their security engineers using internal data to stalk women, and that employee got fired immediately. Another situation happened to Uber when they try to use a tool called ‘God View’ to track rider’s location, which then went under investigation by the New York State Attorney General. After the event, both Uber and Facebook promised to tighten the privacy controls strictly. In the case of Snapchat, the company has no confirmation about the reality of their situation, but they clearly stated that such abuse would definitely require termination.