In every episode of Inspector Gadget, the eponymous android detective receives a confidential note from his boss calling him to action. Key to the show's formula were those crucial words "This message will self-destruct in five seconds." This cartoon bit is the best way to explain Snapchat, the mobile photo and video sharing app that automatically deletes the footage after a few seconds. For a solid moment there, we thought there were no consequences to sending naughty images to one another. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Thanks to some technical investigation, we, much like the Inspector, cannot escape the wake of the explosion, and are comically burnt everywhere except the eyes.
The party-pooping fun spoilers at Decipher Forensics have discovered the default location of the supposedly erased files within the app, in a folder called "RECEIVED_IMAGES_SNAPS," where they are tagged with extension “.NOMEDIA” which renders them unviewable to the consumer … until now! Yes, if you are an attorney, parent, or law enforcement official with a few hundred dollars, the rules of Snapchat do not apply for the smart phone user of your choosing.
Decipher Forensics have only cracked the code for the Android operating system, but the tepid paranoia should still exist for iPhone users, and anyone who uses the Internet, really. The digital world leaves a trail like the scent of sulfur; it's naïve to think otherwise. According to common knowledge, the red cups in the background of our Facebook pictures will damn this over-sharing generation of ours. This is the belief that anything and everything sent on (or just with) the Internet is like a bit of hubris, foreboding an eventual downfall of embarrassment. It feels about as ancient as Greek tragedy, I know, but we should all be hardened in the reality it informs.
Then, most bravely, we will share our beliefs, and our .jpgs, and anything else we please on the web in spite of the knowledge that it may haunt our older selves. Sure, permanence can be humiliating, but if you already know that, there is a certain extra helping of bravado attached to whatever self-effacing (or more likely, self-aggrandizing) thing you want to put on the Internet. The next time you sext someone a picture of your crotch-weapon, never forget: you are a revolutionary. Go-Go Gadget Penis!