Oct 13, 2014 · 1 minute

The website from which thousands of Snapchat images were taken said in a statement on its Facebook page that the photos were swiped from an index it created when its service shut down. Someone else claims that the index was made available to them after the website suspended its service, however, making it unclear who's to blame for the release of the private photographs.

Either way, the people in charge of SnapSaved systematically violated the privacy of thousands of Snapchat users without their consent. The site claims in its Facebook post to have "always tried to fight child pornography" in its archive, which means that someone was looking through the saved images without informing users about the snooping.

SnapSaved tries to defend this by saying that its users "had to consent to all the content they received via SnapSaved.com," and it repeats the claim that it kept pornography off its service whenever possible. That's fine, but it doesn't change the fact that the service was designed to capture personal images without allowing their senders to know that the images wouldn't be deleted, like Snapchat promises, and might eventually be available to other people.

Consider one of the first status updates shared on SnapSaved's Facebook page, where it made this latest statement and also celebrated having 10,000 visitors to its site in November 2013:

Do you want to save snaps without the sender knowing you saved it?Start saving your snaps at ►► www.Snapsaved.com

Remember to login while the snap is unopened on your smartphone, or else it will be gone forever.

This wasn't a harmless website that inadvertently made it possible for someone's private images to be shared on the Internet. It was made specifically for people who wanted to save photos, even though the sender assumed they'd be deleted in just a few seconds. Even worse, it's now made those images available to people who were never supposed to see them in the first place.

All of which makes it easier to believe that a SnapSaved administrator might have provided the images to the people who leaked them to 4Chan. It's obvious that this site wasn't run by people with scruples about invading the privacy of thousands of Snapchat users; its entire promise was that it provided a way to do just that, and if this leak is any indication, it succeeded in that goal.