London Guardian 
October 16, 2013
The photo-sharing app Snapchat has admitted to handing over to American law enforcement agencies images not yet seen by its users.
In a blogpost on Monday , the company outlined the circumstances under which it has given photos – which the company calls “snaps” – to investigators.
“Since May 2013, about a dozen of the search warrants we’ve received have resulted in us producing unopened snaps to law enforcement,” said Snapchat director of operations Micah Schaffer. The only photos handed over have been unopened snaps, because those are the only images the company stores on its servers.
Snapchat works by allowing users to take photos or short videos, then share them with friends for up to 10 seconds before the image self-destructs. If a recipient screenshots the photo, the app alerts the original sender, though hacks to interrupt this function do exist.