This is How Snap Map is Aiding Surveillance: Privacy Threat

Last month, the Snapchat app was updated with Snap Maps feature, which allows users to check out Snaps of sporting events, celebrations, news and much more from across the globe as well as share their location with their friends on the app.


But privacy advocates and media across the globe isn’t all that thrilled about the feature, primarily due to the privacy and security concerns surrounding the use — or rather, misuse — of Snap Map feature.

Snapchat is one of the most popular photo-sharing apps among teenagers and this update has led people to advocate the need to teach children as well as adults the importance of privacy on the Internet and the implications of sharing your location publically at all times.

But according to a study, taking out the privacy threat element from Snap Maps makes it a beneficial feature to keep a track on events, activities of a user and verify social media posts.

According to researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich, these apps are particularly useful in verification.

Professor Neil Thurman of the LMU conducted a study in which he analysed journalists perception of these new features on social media which allow others to monitor their location and movement.


He found that the app enabled journalists to judge whether witness accounts were actually posted from the supposed scene of the action.

“These apps have been welcomed by some journalists who see them as an ‘early warning system’,” Thurman wrote in the study published in Digital Journalism.

While Thurman agreed that Snapchat’s Snap Map feature gives rise to privacy invasion of its users, ‘reservations like this are apparently not universal’.

Describing Geofeedia, a similar app in his report, Thurman said the app was used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies, promoted as giving the police the power to “monitor” — via social media — trade union members, protesters and activist groups, who the company described as being an “overt threat”.

To state the obvious, the Snap Map can be a suitable avenue for stalkers and other anti-social elements to search for an unsuspecting prey and give wings to their illicit motives — all with the flick of a finger and the Snapchat apps latest Snap Map feature.

(With inputs from IANS)

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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