Privacy Policy Blog

For my privacy blog post, I chose to focus in on Snapchat’s privacy policy. For my interview portion I chose to interview my friend Somers on his knowledge of Snapchat’s privacy policy. Before I get to his interview, I’d like to do my own analysis of Snapchat’s policy and privacy statement.  

Snapchat opens their policy by stating the three areas of information they collect, first the “information you choose to give us”, second the “information we get when you use our services”, and lastly the “information we get from third parties”. I’ll start with summarizing how they define the information which users “give” to them. Snapchat saves all information about your usage on the app including who you talk to, how much you talk to them, and saves all snaps that you choose to save or screenshot. They also have the ability to save every picture you choose to send as well as every message you send. In terms of information Snapchat receives when you use the app, they have access to your entire camera roll, what ads you watch, as well as your location at all times. The final piece of their information gathering is the information they gather from third parties, this includes any types of plug ins you may have added to the app as well as advertising information. This part reminded me a lot of recent class discussions in which we discusses the ethics and methods behind data’s connection to advertising methods. Just stating that collect data to better suit our ad needs is a pretty significant invasion of personal information. The policy then goes into how they use the data, how long they keep the data, and what data is shared with third parties. The main theme of how they describe their use of the data is to make the app experience better. While I believe this, it’s always possible for one bad party to use the data in negative ways. While some of this information is new to me, it seems to connect perfectly to what we’ve been reading and discussing in class, such as the articles on how much power data gives third parties.  

I’ll finish by describing my interview with a friend of mine, Somers Wilton. Somers is a first year here at Washington and Lee. He has used Snapchat since it came out in 2011. This is very similar to most people our age, Snapchat has been a staple of our social media use over the last ten years. I began by asking Somers what he used the app for, he said it was a easy and fun way for him to stay in contact with high school friends as well as be a part of snapchat groups, in which large groups can send pictures in the same group. I then began to quiz Somers on his knowledge of the privacy policy. He said while he knew they had a privacy policy and that he had signed it, he didn’t read it when he should have. This is very common with privacy statements, I myself often do not read them. I then asked him if he knew how much data they could keep on him, and this was very surprising to him. While it was surprising to him, he said it wouldn’t stop him from using the app or change the way he uses the app.  I’ll embed the video file below. 

 

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