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Disappearing Photo Apps May Be Misleading

(Photo from snapchat.com)

(Photo from snapchat.com)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Ever get the sense that your teenager is outsmarting you? Yeah, cause she is.

If ever you’re looking for those compromising photos you fear she’s sending but can’t find them, you actually can’t be certain that she’s not sending them. Thanks to new apps like snapchat or poke, people are able to send what they believe to be self-deleting photos of themselves that disappear in 5 seconds. And in case you were pondering the philosophical question: would my teenager ever send compromising pictures if she thought she wouldn’t be caught, the answer is yes.

Which is why both you and she need to know both the legal and the technical answer to the question: is it really gone?

That answer is NO. Because while the program may delete the item from her sent items, all the recipient has to do is take a screenshot of his or her phone when the picture appears, and there stays the evidence. So everyone needs to be reminded of this legal tidbit: child pornography laws make the taking or transmitting of lewd photos of minors illegal (thankfully) – and that includes even the teenager who takes that photo of herself and sends it to her boyfriend under the mistaken impression that it will actually disappear.