Snapchat, the sexting app of choice recently cloned by Facebook, might not be as private as you think. BuzzFeed reports that video files sent using the app are actually not deleted from the phone immediately — meaning they can be copied onto a computer and watched over and over.
BuzzFeed describes the simple process required to find the files. Simply take an iPhone and plug it into your computer, use a third-party file browsing app like iFunBox to navigate its file system, and head straight for the Snapchat/tmp folder. Bingo! Re-watch all that video, copy it to your computer, whatever — unlike grabbing a screenshot, the Snapchat user who sent the video won’t be notified of the privacy intrusion.
According to BuzzFeed, Facebook’s new Poke app also stores the files locally in a similar way — at library/caches/fbstore/mediacard — but they are deleted as soon as they’re watched. Neither of the apps store photos in the this way. Phew!
While the trick is a lot of work to go to for each and every video, it’s an obvious way to incriminate those who send the most inappropriate content. Perhaps more importantly, though, the fact the videos are stored locally after they’re viewed in Snapchat clearly runs counter to the whole point of the app. Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel told BuzzFeed that “people who most enjoy using Snapchat are those who embrace the spirit and intent of the service. There will always be ways to reverse engineer technology products – but that spoils the fun!”. We’d be tempted to disagree. [BuzzFeed]