Snapchat's premise is that it deletes snaps, something that has been foiled in various ways since the service found itself thrust into the popularity spotlight. Still, the notion that snaps are deleted might give users a wrong impression of their data's security and level of privacy, something the company recently covered in a blog post. Among other things, it was detailed that under certain conditions, law enforcement can get its hands on some messages.
As detailed by the company, any snaps that aren't opened aren't deleted from Snapchat's servers for obvious reasons -- the message isn't opened, and thus can't be deleted, else it won't be available for the recipient. Because of this, the data is available to be accessed if necessary, and as can be expected, one such necessity concerns law enforcement requests.
Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Snapchat is required to provide requested unopened messages if it receives a lawful request, something it has done in the past. Says the service, since May of this year, "about" 12 search warrants the company has received mandating information have resulted in the company giving law enforcement unopened snaps from various accounts.