ChatGum Guidelines for Law Enforcement
These guidelines are for law enforcement officials seeking information about ChatGum user accounts. When ChatGum receives a request for user account information from a government agency investigating criminal activity, the ChatGum team reviews each request to be sure that it satisfies all legal requirements. ChatGum is committed to cooperating with law enforcement while respecting each individual’s right to privacy.
What is ChatGum?
ChatGum is a social platform that gives users the tools to communicate in real-time about topics they are passionate about, allowing them to make friends with the people with similar interests. Users must be 17 years or older to create a ChatGum account.
Users must be 17 years or older to create a ChatGum account. Children under the age of 13 are prohibited from accessing a ChatGum account. If ChatGum obtains knowledge that a user is under the age of 13, it’s our policy to permanently deactivate their account and delete their personal information, unless otherwise notified by law enforcement.
Please visit Safety Statement.
What Account Information Does ChatGum Have?
ChatGum’s records include the following information whenever a user interacts with the ChatGum app:
- The date and time of the interaction with the app, beginning with installation of the app;
- The IP address used to access the app;
- The email address used to access the app;
- The device used to access the app;
- The username selected to create the account;
- The birth-date selected to create the account;
- Profile and background pictures;
- Content posted on the message boards;
- Friends they have added;
- Messages within the past 2 weeks, unless deleted;
- The user-agent string(s) associated with the device used to access the app.
This information isn’t verified by ChatGum, meaning we don’t have any way to know if it’s accurate.
Legal Process Requirements
ChatGum discloses user account information only in accordance with applicable law, including the Stored Communications Act (the “SCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2701, et seq. ChatGum will only release non-public information about its users to law enforcement officials in response to appropriate legal process, such as a subpoena, court order, or search warrant — or in response to a valid emergency request, as described below.
Unless a more restrictive state law applies, ChatGum typically requires the following legal process prior to the disclosure of user information:
- A valid subpoena (administrative, grand jury, or trial) issued in connection with an official criminal investigation or prosecution is required to compel ChatGum to disclose certain basic subscriber information. ChatGum’s records of basic subscriber information that may be disclosed in response to a valid subpoena will generally be limited to: (1) the date and time when the user installed the app, (2) the IP address used at installation, and (3) the user’s email address, if provided. ChatGum is also permitted to disclose these types of basic subscriber information in response to a search warrant and/or a court order issued pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d).
- A court order issued pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d) is required to compel ChatGum to disclose additional non-content records associated with a user’s account. This may include: (1) the date and time of a user’s interaction with the app, (2) the IP address used to access the app, (3) the email address used to access the app, (4) birthdate associated with account, (5) the link to the most current profile picture, and (6) the user-agent string associated with the device used to access the app. ChatGum is also permitted to disclose these categories of non-content user records in response to a search warrant.
- A search warrant is required to compel ChatGum to disclose (1) the content of any message(s)/posts(s) associated with a user’s account and, when the device is used to interact with the app.
Data Retention and Preservation Requests
ChatGum retains different types of information for different time periods. Due to the real-time nature of ChatGum, some information may be stored for only a very brief period of time.
ChatGum will not retain data for law enforcement unless it receives a valid preservation request. Preservation requests must be submitted in writing, on official law enforcement letterhead, and signed by the requesting official. Please include screenshots of the messages that you wish to be preserved, if available. Requests may be sent as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
Form of Requests
Any legal process submitted to ChatGum should include a detailed description of the specific ChatGum message/post(s) that you are seeking information about,
We will be unable to process overly broad or vague requests. All requests must identify requested records with particularity and include the following:
- The name of the issuing authority, badge/ID number of responsible agent, email address from a law-enforcement domain, and direct contact phone number.
- The email address, username
- The exact language of the message/post, and if known, the approximate time, date, and location of the message/post. Please provide screenshots of the message/posts if available.
ChatGum does not provide expert testimony support. In addition, ChatGum records are self-authenticating pursuant to law and should not require the testimony of a records custodian.
We honor formal requests from law enforcement to preserve information in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 2703(f). Upon receiving a signed and dated preservation request on law enforcement department letterhead, we will attempt to preserve available ChatGum account records associated with any properly identified ChatGum user(s) in an offline file for up to 90 days, and will extend the preservation for one additional 90-day period with a formal extension request.
Under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2702(b)(8) and 2702(c)(4), ChatGum may disclose user account information to law enforcement — without a subpoena, court order, or search warrant — in response to a valid emergency when we believe that doing so is necessary to prevent death or serious physical harm to someone (for instance, in cases involving kidnapping, bomb threats, school shootings, or suicide threats). ChatGum evaluates emergency requests on a case-by-case basis.
Any information ChatGum provides in response to emergency requests is limited to what we believe would prevent the harm. This may include a user’s IP address, message timestamps, user-agent string, and/or the contents of other messages from the user’s posting history.
Law enforcement officers can submit an emergency request as an email attachment (our contact information is below). Emergency requests must be submitted on law enforcement letterhead, and must include the following:
- a detailed description of the emergency;
- a description of the harm to be prevented;
- a detailed description of the ChatGum user/message/post that you are seeking information about, including screenshots, if available;
- the specific information requested, including an explanation of why that information is necessary to prevent the harm;
- an explanation of why the information is needed without waiting for legal process;
- and the signature of the submitting law enforcement officer.
Please note that ChatGum cannot review or respond to emergency requests sent by non-law enforcement officials. If you are aware of an emergency situation, you should immediately contact your local law enforcement officials.
Data Retention Periods
Generally, messages are permanently deleted and unavailable after two weeks upon sending. Additionally, messages may be available until deleted by a user.
ChatGum may seek reimbursement under federal or state law, including pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2706, for costs incurred while searching for, assembling, reproducing, or otherwise providing information in response to law enforcement requests. Particularly broad and/or burdensome requests may increase the cost reimbursement that ChatGum is entitled to. In cases where ChatGum intends to request such reimbursement, ChatGum will provide a good faith estimate of such costs as part of our production or, upon request, prior to assembling, reproducing, or otherwise providing information in response a government request for user information.
Will ChatGum Notify Users About Law Enforcement Requests?
ChatGum reserves the right to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to notify users about law enforcement requests, unless ChatGum receives a valid order precluding such notice pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2705.
Law enforcement officials may submit requests by email to email@example.com
Receipt of correspondence by any of these means is for convenience only and does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service. ChatGum will not respond to requests for user information sent by non-law enforcement officials.