Sexting Apps Give Users a False Sense of Security

|
5
Sexting Apps Give Users a False Sense of Security

You may be savvy and careful when it comes to deleting all evidence of risqué texts, but what if your romantic liaison saves or shares a message or an image?

©iStockphoto.com/Hocus Focus Studio

For those not in the know, apps like Snapchat and Poke allow you to send photos, captions and videos that self-delete after a set amount of time (usually only a few seconds). Tigertext is a similar service, but for text messages rather than images. These apps are reportedly being used widely by teens and others to do things like sext (the texting equivalent of phone sex), pass notes and even cheat on tests. But a cheating spouse may also be using them to send messages to a paramour on the sly under the false assumption that the evidence will disappear forever.

One major loophole is the ability of the receiver of such messages to take screenshots, take a photo with another device or otherwise save the interaction, thus thwarting the expected self-destruction. The Snapchat app is supposed to let you know if someone takes a screenshot, but there are ways the receiver can get around that, too, especially on a jailbroken phone. And there's certainly no notification if a photo is taken with another device. The company's privacy policy even states that there is no guarantee that images will be deleted, and users are sending at their own risk. Anything you send can end up online or otherwise viewed by people for whom you did not intend it.

A suspecting partner can also buy monitoring software or hardware that can recover deleted pictures and other data from phones or SIM cards. Just like with other types of data, deleting doesn't necessarily mean a picture is unrecoverable. And the cheater is bound to leave his or her phone lying around at some point.

|