is snapchat a violation of your human rights?

Turns out the flower crown wasn't the app’s most controversial feature.

by Wendy Syfret
25 October 2016, 12:51pm

When most of us open Snapchat and descend into the front-facing-camera malaise, we probably have a few things on our mind: who am I sending this to? Does it need a caption? How do they make my nose look so small? What filter should I pick? Just kidding, puppy for life.

What probably doesn't permeate your thoughts is whether this seemingly meaningless act is a violation of your human rights. But it's something Amnesty International wants you to start considering. In a recent report the organization criticized Snapchat and Skype for their failure to employ privacy protections in their apps. They argue that by failing to take these measures, and therefore compromising the privacy of user's information, the organizations are putting their human rights at risk.

In the report Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Amnesty International's Technology and Human Rights Team, stresses that these "private" messaging services are "under constant threat from cybercriminals and spying by state authorities." He notes that because of the audience that gravitates to these apps, young people are especially at risk.

Amnesty International recommends that all tech companies employ end-to end encryption as a minimal requirement to protect users information. They explain this as "a way of scrambling data so that only the sender and recipient can see it."

If this all leaves you feeling a little unsettled, then check out their breakdown of apps that meet these requirements. Apple iMessage, WhatsApp, Facetime, Line, Google Duo, and Viber all make the cut. So next time you send a selfie, or a selection of your deepest darkest secrets, it might be worth asking how much those filters really mean to you.


Text Wendy Syfret
Image via Instagram

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