Information For Law Enforcement | Snapchat Law Enforcement (2024)

Law Enforcement and the Snap Community

At Snap, we take our commitment to protecting Snapchatters from misuse of our platform very seriously. As part of that, we work with law enforcement and governmental agencies to promote safety on our platform.

Snap is committed to assisting law enforcement while respecting the privacy and rights of our users. Once we have received and established the validity of a legal request for Snapchat account records, we respond in compliance with applicable law and privacy requirements.

General Information for Law Enforcement

These operational guidelines are provided for law enforcement and governmental officials who are seeking to request Snapchat account records (i.e., Snapchat user data) from Snap. Additional information relating to law enforcement requests can be found in our Law Enforcement Guide, where you'll find details regarding possible availability of Snapchat account records and the type of legal process required to compel disclosure of that data.

U.S. Legal Process

As a U.S. company, Snap requires U.S. law enforcement and governmental agencies to follow U.S. law in order for Snap to disclose any Snapchat account records.

Our ability to disclose Snapchat account records is generally governed by the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701, et seq. The SCA mandates that we disclose certain Snapchat account records only in response to specific types of legal process, including subpoenas, court orders, and search warrants.

Non-U.S. Legal Process

Non-U.S. law enforcement and governmental agencies generally must rely on the mechanics of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or letters rogatory processes to request Snapchat account records from Snap. As a courtesy to non-U.S. law enforcement, we will review and respond to properly submitted preservation requests while the MLAT or letters rogatory process is undertaken.

Snap may, at its discretion, provide limited Snapchat account records to law enforcement and governmental agencies outside the U.S. in response to legal process that is duly authorized in the requesting country and that seeks non-content information such as basic subscriber information and IP data.

Emergency Disclosure Requests

Consistent with 18 U.S.C. §§ 2702(b)(8) and 2702(c)(4), we are able to voluntarily disclose Snapchat account records when we believe in good faith that an emergency posing a threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury requires the immediate disclosure of such records.

Information for law enforcement regarding how to submit Emergency Disclosure Requests to Snap can be found in our Law Enforcement Guide. Emergency Disclosure Requests to Snap must be submitted by a sworn law enforcement official and must come from an official law enforcement (or governmental) email domain.

Data Retention Periods

Current information about data retention policies for Snaps, Chats and Stories, as well as other useful information, may be found on our Support Site.

Preservation Requests

We honor formal requests from law enforcement to preserve information in accordance with 18U.S.C. § 2703(f). Upon receiving such a request, we will attempt to preserve any available Snapchat account records that are associated with any properly identified Snapchat user(s) and that are within the date range specified in the request. We will maintain any such preserved records in an offline file for up to 90 days, and will extend that preservation for one additional 90-day period with a formal extension request. Please see Section IV of our Law Enforcement Guide for more information on accurately locating a Snapchat account.

As a courtesy for non-U.S. law enforcement, Snap may, at its discretion, preserve available Snapchat account records for up to a year while the MLAT or letters rogatory process is undertaken. At its discretion, Snap may extend such a preservation for one additional six-month period with a formal extension request.

Child Safety Concerns

In instances where we're made aware of potential child exploitation content on our platform, our Trust & Safety team reviews the allegations and, if appropriate, reports such situations to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC will then review those reports and coordinate with both global law enforcement agencies.

User Consent

Snap does not disclose user data based solely on user consent. Users seeking to download their own data may find additional information on our Support Site.

User Notice Policy

Snap’s policy is to notify our users when we receive legal process seeking disclosure of their records. We recognize two exceptions to this policy. First, we will not notify users of legal process where providing notice is prohibited by a court order issued under 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b) or by other legal authority. Second, where we, in our sole discretion, believe an exceptional circ*mstance exists — such as cases involving child exploitation, the sale of lethal drugs, or the threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury — we reserve the right to forgo user notice.

Testimony

Records disclosures made to U.S. law enforcement will be accompanied by a signed Certificate of Authenticity, which should eliminate the need for the testimony of a custodian of records. Should you believe that a custodian of records is still necessary to provide testimony, we require domestication of all state subpoenas pursuant to the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of a Witness from Without a State in Criminal Proceedings, Cal. Penal Code § 1334, et seq.

Snap is unable to provide expert witness testimony or testimony outside the United States.

How to Submit Requests

Law enforcement officials must address their requests to Snap Inc. Please be sure to identify the Snapchat username of the requested Snapchat account. If you are unable to locate a username, we can try — with varying degrees of success — to locate the account with a phone number, email address, or hexadecimal User ID. Please see Section IV of our Law Enforcement Guide for more information on accurately locating a Snapchat account.

Law enforcement and governmental agencies who have access to Snap’s Law Enforcement Service Site (LESS) should submit legal process and preservation requests to Snap via the LESS portal at: less.snapchat.com. In LESS, members of law enforcement and governmental agencies can create an account for the purpose of submitting requests and checking the status of submissions.

We also accept preservation requests, service of legal process, and general questions from law enforcement via email at lawenforcement@snapchat.com.

Receipt of law enforcement requests by these means is for convenience only and does not waive any objections or legal rights of Snap or its users.

Requests from Non-Governmental Entities

Please note that the above methods are only appropriate for law enforcement officials.

If you are contacting Snap on behalf of an entity that is not associated with law enforcement and seeking to serve a criminal defense discovery demand, please note that such legal process must be personally served on Snap or our designated third-party agent (unless issued or domesticated within California). Out-of-state criminal defense discovery demands must be domesticated in California as required by law. If you are seeking to serve a civil discovery demand, please note that Snap does not accept service of such legal process through email; civil discovery demands must be personally served on Snap or our designated third-party agent. Out-of-state civil discovery demands must further be domesticated in California.

Information For Law Enforcement | Snapchat Law Enforcement (2024)

FAQs

Can deleted Snapchats be recovered by law enforcement? ›

While it's true that we value ephemerality in our Snaps and Chats, some information may be retrieved by law enforcement through proper legal process. You can learn more about when Snapchat deletes Snaps and Chats.

How long does Snapchat keep data for law enforcement? ›

We will maintain any such preserved records in an offline file for up to 90 days, and will extend that preservation for one additional 90-day period with a formal extension request. Please see Section IV of our Law Enforcement Guide for more information on accurately locating a Snapchat account.

What happens if you get reported on Snapchat? ›

Snapchat's Trust & Safety Team reviews all reports. If they find the content violates Snapchat's Community Guidelines, they may remove the content or suspend the account. Only if necessary will they reach out to law enforcement.

Can Snapchat chats be traced? ›

The simple answer is yes. Safety Center - Law Enforcement - Snap Inc. They may be able to recover the conversations from your phone. In fact, anyone with access to your phone can, even after you think you've deleted them, by examining the phone with data forensics.

Can deleted Snapchats be recovered? ›

Snapchat is unable to provide copies of Snaps to Snapchatters. Delete is our default. Which means opened or expired Snaps typically cannot be retrieved from Snapchat's servers by anyone, for any reason. In most cases, opened Snaps are automatically deleted once they have been viewed or have expired.

Can police see deleted texts? ›

If you think those deleted texts are gone forever, think again. Law enforcement can often retrieve text messages, even ones you've deleted.

How far back does Snapchat data go? ›

We only store metadata as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes described above. That's why most metadata is deleted after 30 days. If we need to keep metadata longer, we'll remove personal identifiers before processing the data for analytical purposes.

Does Snapchat keep records of chats? ›

For example, if you store something in Memories, we will keep it as long as you need it, but when you Chat with a friend, our systems are designed to delete Chats you send within 24 hours after your friend reads it (or automatically after viewing — depending on your settings).

Can Snapchat messages be recovered for divorce? ›

Social Media Messages Can Be Used as Evidence

In criminal law and divorce law, messages and content on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media applications can be used as evidence. These social media sites document users' photos, locations, and messages.

Does Snap take reports seriously? ›

We take every report seriously. In-App Reporting: You can report inappropriate content to us right in the app! Just press and hold on the Snap, then tap the 'Report Snap' button. Let us know what's going on — we'll do our best to help!

Does Snapchat contact the police? ›

We regularly support law enforcement investigations, so if you ever feel that a crime has been committed, we encourage you to contact your local law enforcement immediately. Law enforcement may contact us directly in response.

How to get someone banned on Snap? ›

To report someone's Snapchat account, open the Chat screen, press and hold on the Snapchatter's name, tap 'Manage Friendship' and tap 'Report'.

Can law enforcement recover deleted Snapchats? ›

It doesn't get them much. All a subpoena will get a law enforcement agency is access to your basic account info: your account name, email address, phone number, and when the account was created. If the agency needs more, like a log of previous snapchats, they have to obtain either a state or federal search warrant.

Can Snapchat be used as evidence in court? ›

Social Media as Evidence

To understand why Snapchat has become an important source for evidence, it's helpful to first understand that all social media is subject to such use in a courtroom, whether it's Snapchat or other sites like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Can I see my Snapchat chat history? ›

Choose chat_history.

You will see the name of your friend or group chat and the message content under “From”, either “TEXT” or “MEDIA” under “Media Type”, and the time and date the Snap was sent under “Created”. Be aware that message content will only be displayed for saved text messages, not saved media.

Can a deleted Snapchat account be recovered by the police? ›

While it's true that we value ephemerality, some account information may be retrieved by law enforcement through valid legal process. At times, this could mean assisting law enforcement with preventing illegal activities and actioning accounts for violations of Snap's Terms of Service.

Can deleted snap account be traced? ›

Yes. People keep logs. Deleting your account does NOT delete the logs of what was done. If you commit a crime, then delete your account, then all the evidence is still there.

Are Snapchats deleted permanently? ›

Delete is our default 👻 This means most messages sent over Snapchat will be automatically deleted once they've been viewed or have expired.

Can deleted photos be recovered by law enforcement? ›

Keeping Your Data Secure

So, can police recover deleted pictures, texts, and files from a phone? The answer is yes—by using special tools, they can find data that hasn't been overwritten yet.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lidia Grady

Last Updated:

Views: 6471

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lidia Grady

Birthday: 1992-01-22

Address: Suite 493 356 Dale Fall, New Wanda, RI 52485

Phone: +29914464387516

Job: Customer Engineer

Hobby: Cryptography, Writing, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Calligraphy, Web surfing, Ghost hunting

Introduction: My name is Lidia Grady, I am a thankful, fine, glamorous, lucky, lively, pleasant, shiny person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.