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An impressive collection of photos and videos sent through the Snapchat service has been published online by hackers.

Snapchat has been created to serve a simple purpose: send a photo or video to a fellow user and it is automatically deleted after the recipient views it. Needless to say, the service was intensely used for exchanging compromising content for a certain period of time.

The company issued an official statement saying that its servers had not been accessed illegally and that they were not the source of the leak. Instead, they put the blame on third-party services employed by Snapchat users for the specific purpose of saving the content.

Some services allow saving temporary content received through Snapchat
Indeed, after the success of Snapchat, third-party services emerged, promising permanent access to the data that would otherwise be automatically sent to oblivion once exposed to the intended recipient.

One such service was Snapsaved.com, which collected the data for years and its data center was breached by unknown individuals, who were able to retrieve a 13GB large database with pictures of Snapchat users, half of them being teens aged between 13 and 17, according to an August report from media company Digiday.

Snapsaved was created specifically to allow Snapchat users to view “unread” snaps and preserve them in a library for future access. It promised to hide from the sender the fact that the recipient was actually turning the ephemeral content permanent.

The website has been offline for some time now, but it looks like it was not before hackers grabbed its snap database, according to Business Insider.

Database published online, thousands download it
Mr. 4Chan does it again, as users of the anonymous image-based bulletin board have already downloaded the collection containing in excess of 100,000 photos (some report a double amount) and said they would make it public before Sunday.

This already happened, and thousands apparently downloaded the collection. Business Insider caught a glimpse of the database index on a website that is no longer available.

Once a private file has been leaked online, it is almost impossible to contain its distribution, as the celeb hack scandal in September proved that copies of the leaked content with celebrities in compromising stances is still available online, despiteefforts to remove the pictures.

Considering that 50% of the Snapchat users are minors exchanging content supposed to be deleted after being viewed, it is safe to assume that they took stills and videos of themselves in various stages of undress, making the material illegal under federal law.
 
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