» News

Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans’ text messages

Home - by - December 4, 2012 - 14:15 America/New_York - 8 Comments

NewsCNET

State and local law enforcement groups want wireless providers to store detailed information about your SMS messages for at least two years — in case they’re needed for future criminal investigations.

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to record and store information about Americans’ private text messages for at least two years, according to a proposal that police have submitted to the U.S. Congress.

CNET has learned a constellation of law enforcement groups has asked the U.S. Senate to require that wireless companies retain that information, warning that the lack of a current federal requirement “can hinder law enforcement investigations.”

They want an SMS retention requirement to be “considered” during congressional discussionsover updating a 1986 privacy law for the cloud computing era — a move that could complicate debate over the measure and erode support for it among civil libertarians.

As the popularity of text messages has exploded in recent years, so has their use in criminal investigations and civil lawsuits. They have been introduced as evidence in armed robbery,cocaine distribution, and wire fraud prosecutions. In one 2009 case in Michigan, wireless provider SkyTel turned over the contents of 626,638 SMS messages, a figure described by a federal judge as “staggering.”

Chuck DeWitt, a spokesman for the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, which represents the 63 largest U.S. police forces including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, said “all such records should be retained for two years.” Some providers, like Verizon, retain the contents of SMS messages for a brief period of time, while others like T-Mobile do not store them at all.

Along with the police association, other law enforcement groups making the request to the Senate include the National District Attorneys’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, DeWitt said

 

more

» 8 Comments

  1. Noodengr

    December 4th, 2012

    Scary and very slippery slopey times we be living in. probable cause maybe, record everyone because someday we might need them to prosecute…. downright scary. Who is to say what will define a crime in just a few short years? Texting someone what a complete idiot “the one” is could land me on a gov’t watch list.

    Thumb up 0

     
  2. Stranded in Sonoma

    December 4th, 2012

    I’ll give them mine to look at.

    “Coming home?”

    “Yeah”

    “K”

    Thumb up +2

     
  3. thirdtwin

    December 4th, 2012

    You should have styed away from that texting crap, kids. See what that goddam George Bush did to you?

    Thumb up 0

     
  4. Old York, OY

    December 4th, 2012

    Congress to cops: Ok, yours’ included.

    Thumb up +3

     
  5. Stranded in Sonoma

    December 4th, 2012

    0bamaphones for everyone! That way your text messages already belong to the gov’t.

    Thumb up +2

     
  6. dude

    December 4th, 2012

    Hey cops, F*CK YOU! Get off your ass and do real police work.

    Thumb up +2

     
  7. Uncle Dirt

    December 4th, 2012

    I agree with Old York, OY. They can have all of my messages if they also collect messages between members of Obama’s slimy entourage, as well as congress.

    Thumb up +3

     
  8. well

    December 4th, 2012

    donuts are up!

    Thumb up 0