Snapchat logo / judge with gavel
Source: Getty Images

If You Think Your Snapchat Photos Are Safe From the Legal System, Think Again

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Sep. 16 2021, Published 8:18 p.m. ET

There are some messaging services that attract their respective user base because of a specific sub-cultural "need." For folks who love secure communications and a standalone desktop client that doesn't require their phone to have a data connection to receive messages, Signal's a pretty powerful app.

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And if you're in the business of disappearing messages, although other applications now offer this feature, Snapchat's pretty much the king.

Some folks use Snap for some clandestine communications so naturally, people want to know: can the photos one takes on Snapchat be used in court?

Can Snapchat photos be used in court? Absolutely.

Here's a word of advice: if you're planning on doing anything illegal, then don't text about it. Don't picture message about it. Don't FaceTime about it. Don't use any application that doesn't have end-to-end encryption either.

While Snapchat does indeed have end-to-end encryption for the photos that are sent between its users, texts, and other types of messages sent through the platform don't enjoy the same kind of protection.

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Snapchat indicates that they will comply with law enforcement when it comes to certain legal matters, which may include handing over any correspondence between two people.

Let's say you're using Snapchat to move some bricks and the person you were sending the disappearing messages to is a rat, or police catch wind of the fact that you're using Snap to conduct your illegal business.

snapchat used in court
Source: Twitter
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Or let's say you're a really famous comedian who went from being kinda weird and dopey to getting in great shape and getting a role in a huge Netflix movie. Then word breaks out you've been allegedly messaging underage girls on Snapchat and you get digitally removed from said flick.

In either of these scenarios, authorities can subpoena Snapchat to get their hands on your messages.

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There have been instances of police using Snapchat messages in a court of law in order to prosecute criminal cases, like an armed robbery that occurred in Edwardsville, Ill.

Police petitioned the tech company to look into the Snapchat accounts of two suspects and were able to discover all of their private messages, photos, and correspondence on the application.

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The Hermann and Hermann Law Firm also writes that Snapchat and other bits of social media correspondence can be used as evidence in a court of law. Even though conversations between individuals are considered private, if someone uses another phone to record your messages, or saves/screenshots them, then that can be brought made a part of a legal case.

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So yes, your Snapchat photos can be used in a court of law.

So be careful of who you send what to because although the application is all about anonymity, if someone's trying to set you up, frame, or blackmail you, or you're trying to do something that's illegal, know that Snapchat isn't exactly the safest of options for messaging.

Maybe just use it for cheating on your significant other.

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