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UK follows US in requesting data from Snapchat

Outside of the States, Britain accounts for a third of legal requests.

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The UK was second only to the US in requesting legal data from the messaging service Snapchat, according to figures released in a transparency report.

Between November and February the British government made 10 requests for information of which only one resulted in data being handed over, with the UK accounting for a third of the requests from outside the US.

The British figure was dwarfed by requests to Snapchat from within the US, which made 375 criminal legal requests in the same period, most of which resulted in some data being produced.

Most of the American requests were made through a court summons or search warrant, but the number could grow once the data from national security enforcers is included, such information being subject to a reporting delay of six months.

The data release is a first for Snapchat, which has committed to reporting on requests from law enforcers for data it holds on its customers.

In a statement on its site Snapchat said: "Even though Snapchat has promoted user privacy and autonomy since its founding, we’ve only recently been able to systematically track and report requests for user information.

"Beginning in July 2015, we will publish a bi-annual Transparency Report, which will explore government requests we have received for users’ account information, government demands to remove users’ content, and requests to takedown content for alleged copyright violations."

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Snapchat’s service is predicated on the expiry of its messages, which can be set by users to last between one and ten seconds.
Once that time has elapsed the message is inaccessible to the recipient, and is subsequently deleted from Snapchat’s servers.

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