Snapchat’s Privacy Statements

I was unsure what to expect from the policy settings of any application on my phone, due to the fact that I never read them. I simply click “accept terms and conditions” because I am so impatient in getting to what I want. I have never considered reading them and did not think much about what could be hidden within privacy statements released by companies. This reminded me of “Skim Reading is the New Normal, because I realized how different the times are. Many people from older generations are more hesitant and aware of what breaches in privacy could do, but even as I was seeing the horrifying statements from Snapchat, I could only think about how I wanted to get this over with, finding myself glossing over the words. Snapchat even attempted to make the privacy policy more user friendly by using informal language. I cannot imagine how it would be to read Apple’s privacy agreements that uses complex words and about 50 more pages of fluff words to cover their ass.

I found that Snapchat collects all forms of information that is sent through the app, whether it be chats, pictures, or stories. The statement stated that it would maybe delete the pictures and chats automatically, but could not guarantee this. It stated that stories were kept for a longer amount of time, and locations that a person visited would be kept for up to 40 days. Snapchat continued by saying that many things were tracked, including filters used, stories viewed, and advertisements. This information could be exchanged between third parties in order to foster ads that are relevant. Snapchat states that information can also be shared to other snapchatters as well as their business partners and the general public. Snapchat additionally tracks what devices your phone is connected to including bluetooth devices, headphones, and laptops.

I think that the most interesting part of the whole privacy statement is that Snapchat states that you can limit a lot of these privacy functions BUT this will come with losing a lot of functionality. It is almost like it is a bribe in order to get the information out of you. It seems inevitable because everyone uses these apps, so to keep up with the times, it feels like you have to give in.

This is the kind of data that has been taken and passed on to support the last presidential election, as depicted inThe Data that Turned the World Upside Down.” The information from Snapchat could have been part of the information that is passed on to elections, who can literally find out interests from the number of likes on pictures and the clicks you put on the page, which is insane. This article really made me wonder if anything in the future can be completely fair anymore. With new technologies, there will always be subliminal messages on our feeds of social media and aggressive advertisements that cover the pages of our brains. It is crazy to think that the people who took our information from Facebook additionally helped the ultimate goals of Brexit as well as other revolutions. If this is true, people are well unaware of the way that innocent things like our phones basically make decisions for us.

Personally, I have never covered my laptop’s camera and never really considered to because I did not think that my information could be exploited, but after reading the Snapchat privacy statement and the articles from class last week, I realize that it is not necessarily a matter of whether they are exposing my information to the public, because that does not matter to me, especially because I do not have very provocative information. However, the issue stands to be that companies could use this information to affect the way I think and I would not even know it. This is scarier for me because it is hard to know whether my opinions, supported by things I read online, were strategically placed to me. Someone else may have made my thoughts. So what should I do?