Released: 16 May 2017
Last updated: 16 May 2017
Snap Inc. transparency reports are released twice a year. These reports provide important insight into the volume and nature of governmental requests for Snapchatters' account information.
Providing our users with very specific and clear information about how governments solicit their data – and how we respond – is an important way for users to hold their government – and us – accountable. An open society, after all, depends on openness. Without key data, our users can’t meaningfully understand how we harmonise our unwavering commitment to their privacy with the legitimate needs of law enforcement. And as government surveillance becomes an increasing matter of public concern, publishing semi-annual transparency reports is one way we can help.
Of course, there are limits even to what we may know about government surveillance. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – better known as FISA – lets the US government covertly intercept electronic communications. When the government conducts surveillance without our knowledge or involvement, we obviously can’t provide visibility on these actions.
That is one reason why we believe that Congress should not reauthorise Section 702 absent substantive reforms to address key privacy and due-process issues.
And to be perfectly clear: we do not voluntarily provide any government with access to user data for surveillance purposes, whether directly or through third parties.
We also do our best to inform users when the government seeks their data. Since 15 November 2015, our policy has been to notify Snapchatters when we receive legal process that asks for their account information. There are only 2 exceptions to this policy: when we are legally prohibited from informing our users of the request (such as a gag order issued by a court) or when we believe that there are exceptional circumstances (such as child exploitation or an imminent risk of death or bodily harm).
United States criminal legal requests
Requests for user information in accordance with US legal process:
|Reporting period||Requests||Account identifiers*||Percentage of requests where some data was produced|
|1 July 2016 – 31 December 2016||2008||3203||81%|
|Pen register order||10||11||70%|
United States national security requests
Requests for user information pursuant to national security legal process.
|Reporting period||Requests||Account identifiers*|
|1 July 2016 – 31 December 2016|
|NSLs and FISA Orders/Directives||0–249||0–249|
International government information requests
Requests for user information from government entities outside the United States.
|Reporting period||Emergency requests||Account identifiers* for emergency requests||Percentage of emergency requests where some data was produced||Other information requests||Account identifiers* for other information requests||Percentage of other information requests where some data was produced|
|1 July 2016 – 31 December 2016||64||95||73%||137||175||0%|
Governmental content removal requests
This category identifies demands by a government entity to remove content that would otherwise be permissible under our Terms of Service or Community Guidelines.
|Reporting period||Removal requests||Percentage of requests where some content was removed|
|1 July 2016 – 31 December 2016||0||N/A|
Copyrighted content takedown notices (DMCA)
This category lists any valid takedown notices we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
|Reporting period||DMCA takedown notices||Percentage of requests where some content was removed|
|1 July 2016 – 31 December 2016||18||67%|
|Reporting period||DMCA counter-notices||Percentage of requests where some content was reinstated|
|1 July 2016 – 31 December 2016||0||N/A|
* "Account identifiers" refers to the number of identifiers (e.g. username, email address, phone number, etc.) specified by law enforcement in legal proceedings when requesting user information. Some legal proceedings may include more than 1 identifier. In some instances, multiple identifiers may identify a single account. In instances where a single identifier is specified in multiple requests, each instance is included.