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Leaked Snapchat photos raise more legal questions

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Posted at 9:55 AM, Oct 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-14 09:55:56-04

In the days following a massive leak of stolen photos sent by Snapchat users, link-hosting websites such as Reddit are trying to control the spread of those images because of child pornography concerns.

Reports indicate that as many as 200,000 videos and pictures sent through Snapchat and saved by a third-party website called Snapsaved.com were posted online Sunday, apparently by a group of hackers.

Similar to the rash of stolen celebrity pictures that were leaked in August, these so-called “Snappening” photo leaks are proving controversial among Internet users.

“If you post directions on how to get to the Snappening, you will be banned,” indicates a Sunday post to one of Reddit’s pages related to the aforementioned celebrity photo leak. “If you post links, at all, to the Snappening. You will be banned. No Warnings.”

Why are some users taking the moral high ground in regards to this latest leak of stolen intimate photos? Fears of child pornography prosecution.

Among Snapchat’s millions of active users, many are under 18 years old. It’s been reported that 32 percent of all U.S. teens between 13 to 17 years old use Snapchat on a mobile device — including 46 percent of 2014 high school seniors.

“As far as we can tell, the breach has effected (sic) 500 megabytes of images,” said a post Saturday on Snapsaved.com’s official Facebook page. “As soon as we discovered the breach in our systems, we immediately deleted the entire website and the database.” As of Tuesday morning, the service’s website was inactive.

Snapsaved.com allowed Snapchat users to use the mobile-only service on a desktop browser. Snapchat itself was not hacked, according to USA Today.

Meanwhile, the debate over whether or not to view the leaked Snapsaved.com pictures wages on among Reddit users.

“There is absolutely no proof of the girls’ ages,” wrote one user. “Erring on the side of not downloading child pornography is too much to ask, huh?,” replied another.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.