People using Snapchat to protect their privacy through the service’s ‘self-destructing’ messages system won’t be too pleased to know that the company has handed over ‘unopened’ mail over to the government.

Snapchat logo 430x430 Snapchat will hand over unopened messages to the feds if warranted

According to a recent company blog post, Snapchat states that it only retrieves ‘unopened’ messages if “[they] receive a search warrant from law enforcement for the contents of snaps ad those snaps are on our server.”  So far, Snapchat has received “about a dozen” or so of these requests, which they have complied to.

“So what is a circumstance when we might manually retrieve a Snap, assuming it is still unopened? For example, there are times when we, like other electronic communication service providers, are permitted and sometimes compelled by law to access and disclose information. For example, if we receive a search warrant from law enforcement for the contents of Snaps and those Snaps are still on our servers, a federal law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) obliges us to produce the Snaps to the requesting law enforcement agency.” -Snapchat Blog

User privacy on the internet is hard to come by, and it seems like the only way one could keep his identity safe is to stay offline, but that’s a hard thing to do (even if it’s a choice).