Snap Inc. has drafted the terms of services so that the user will know the rules and regulations that govern the relationship with snapchat. Although the terms of services of Snap Inc. looks plain and simple as any others of its counterpart, I felt as if it is just like a customary contract but later realized that one should carefully look deep into it.
By agreeing to the terms, the user is legally bound by it. Snap Inc. has two set of terms of services, one for its users within the United States and another for the users who live outside the United States. Both of them are identical to each other with few exceptions.
Snap Inc. specifies who can use their services. A snap chatter must be 13 years or older to create an account and use services of the application, this surprised me because I have personally seen a lot of kids who were younger than the specified age limit set by the Snap Inc. I guess these terms have been abused a lot by our kids today. Snap Inc permits its users to use their services worldwide with royalty-free, non-assignable, non-exclusive, revocable, and non-sub licensable license. By giving a consent to their terms, snapchat permits its users to create, post, upload, send, accept and store content, when the user does that they keep the rights of that content and in-return permits Snap Inc. to use the same. For all the content the user post’s or submits to the application mainly the public content, the user gives consent for Snap Inc. and their affiliates globally for a royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license to host, store, use, display, replicate, change, adapt, edit, publish, and distribute that content. Snap Inc. claims that this license is for a limited operational purpose in order to improve, provide, promote their services and to explore and evolve new ideas.
When a user posts a content as public, Snap Inc.considers the same as fundamentally public content and the same is of public interest, thus granting a license to Snap Inc.for the broader use of the same. In addition to permitting Snap Inc. the above-mentioned rights the user also permits Snap Inc. uninterrupted license to make imitative works, endorse, display, broadcast, syndicate, sublease and publicly exhibit Public Content in any form and in any methods of distribution. The user also grants permission to Snap Inc. not only to use the content but also the user’s name, voice for commercial use and that means that the user will not be eligible to any compensation from Snap Inc. if the same is used commercially.
When a user uses the application, the service provider (Snap Inc.) collects various information about the user such as, username, password, email address phone numbers, age and date of birth, photograph etc. and not to mention the Snaps and Chats which you send to your friends. Snap Inc. also collects data such as Device Information, Device Phonebook, Location Information, Log Information and some of them are shared with Snap chatters, business partners, and the general public.
I think that Snapchat has so much to offer and also poses many concerns. Primarily, there is no actual information available about how may underage young users are on Snapchat and I think that itself poses a problem. If someone wants to lie about their age when signing up for snapchat they can and any child with a smartphone and an intent can easily figure that out. As I stated earlier, Snap Inc. specifies who can use their services. A snap chatter must be 13 years or older to create an account and use services of the application and to my knowledge it is one of those social apps which facilitates the youngest user group, this surprised me because I have personally seen a lot of kids who were younger than the specified age limit set by the snapchat. I guess this terms have been abused a lot by our kids today and is it safe for the kids? Who does not fully comprehend the concept of sharing over social media.
Snaps that user sends don’t really disappear. This contradicts what snapchat claimed initially that the snaps the user sends disappear in designated time and hence it is safe but there are a lot of speculations in this regard and to strengthen that claim Snapchat has backed off from their claim that snaps disappear, but users are still using the service as if the snaps are disappearing. According to an article from KSL.com which refers to the forensics firm investigation states that ‘Deleted’ Snapchat photos saved in phone data, can be examined as evidence” and Richard Hickman a digital forensics examiner states that “The actual app is even saving the picture. They claim that it’s deleted and it’s not even deleted. It’s actually saved on the phone”. So, what are the risks? it can be as many as one can imagine.
Further, a recipient can take a screenshot of the snaps, even though the sender will be notified will it help the sender? and what if the recipient takes a picture of the snap form a different phone than what are its implications? The latest addition to Snapchat
app was updated with Snap Maps feature which allows the snap chatters checkout the events and news from across the globe as well as share their location and according to the article in Guiding Tech, privacy advocates and media across the globe isn’t all that thrilled about the feature, primarily due to the privacy and security concerns surrounding the use or rather, misuse of Snap Map feature and questions that, snap map is a threat to privacy?
As I stated in my previous post, Snapchat has so much to offer and also poses many concerns too. I think that no digital tool is fundamentally evil, and Snapchat is no exception. If someone wants to be mischievous and misuse it, they can and they will find ways but the same platform can be used positively if it is used appropriately. Just because one can abuse something doesn’t mean that we should have a bad perception of it. In my next post, I will be reviewing the app’s educational value and how best we can use it in the educational realm. For now, I would love to hear your thoughts and concerns on snap chat’s privacy implications and its educational value and usage?