The app, Snapchat, allows users to send friends photos that vanish within 10 seconds of being viewed. It's popular with teens who don't want their parents to see inappropriate pictures, according to industry experts.
But pictures some may think are gone for good may actually not be. An Orem company called Decipher Forensics has found a way to retrieve long vanished Snapchat images.
“When something is deleted, it's not actually deleted it's still there,” said Richard Hickman, an examiner with Decipher Forensics.
The average person can't turn on their phone and find the photos. It takes special forensic software.
“So you selected those forensic files and you click extract it connects the phone and starts extracting the data,” Hickman shows ABC4’s Kim Johnson. “This one in particular I know that I viewed that picture in Snapchat and yet here it is.”
The company says being able to retrieve pictures could not only be useful for parents, but also for law enforcement in child pornography cases recover evidence the suspect thought he or she deleted.
“My main hope is that it will be used by law enforcement in cases where child exploitation has happened to be able to help them in those criminal cases,” said Hickman.
For parents interested in knowing what's on their teen's phones the Snapchat recovery software is one more tool to do it, but it'll cost you.
“For anywhere from $300- $500 we will extract those Snapchat photos from the phone and send the phone back with a thumb drive with all those photos on the thumb drive,” he said.
Right now the service is limited to Android software, but the company is busy working to make the Snapchat recovery service available for iPhones.
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