In the ongoing and contentious litigation between Uber and Google’s autonomous (self-driving) vehicle unit (Waymo v. Uber), allegations have arisen that one party has hidden relevant information, in part by use of “self-destructing messages” (SDM). SDM apps typically transmit information with end-to-end encryption, and automatically destruct after being read by the receiver, or after some set time period (i.e., Snapchat, Wickr, Viber, Telegram, and others).

Importantly, for those companies subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued a new corporate enforcement policy that provides a strong disincentive against using messaging applications which do not store data that can later be accessed during a DOJ investigation (“New DOJ Enforcement Policy Takes Aim at Messaging Apps,” The FCPA Blog (December 14, 2017)). For additional information on this policy, contact one of the members of our FCPA team.

SDM technology is rapidly-developing, so responsive corporate policies are in constant flux. In the interim, give careful consideration to the benefits and the costs of using messaging systems which can “self-destruct.”

Check out our series, Privacy Perils, to learn what steps you can take to guard your personal and company data. For more information about this topic and other cyber security concerns, please contact a member of our Privacy & Data Security team.