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Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans' text messages. Comment:

CAPISCE 2012/12/05 02:51:20
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 discussions over 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
This issue is not addressed in the current proposal before the committee and yet it will become even more important in the future," the groups warn.

That's a reference to the Senate Judiciary committee, which approved sweeping amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act last week. Unlike earlier drafts, the latest one veers in a very privacy-protective direction by requiring police to obtain a warrant to read the contents of e-mail messages; the SMS push by law enforcement appears to be a way to make sure it includes one of their priorities too.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the law enforcement proposal is to store the contents of SMS messages, or only the metadata such as the sender and receiver phone numbers associated with the messages. Either way, it's a heap of data: Forrester Research reports that more than 2 trillion SMS messages were sent in the U.S. last year, over 6 billion SMS messages a day
The current policies of wireless providers have been highlighted in some recent cases. During a criminal prosecution of a man for suspected murder of a 6-year old boy, for example, police in Cranston, R.I., tried to obtain copies of a customer's text messages from T-Mobile and Verizon. Superior Court Judge Judith Savage said that, although she was "not unfamiliar with cell phones and text messaging," she "was stunned" to learn that providers had such different policies.

While the SMS retention proposal opens a new front in Capitol Hill politicking over surveillance, the principle of mandatory data retention is hardly new. The Justice Department has publicly called for new laws requiring Internet service providers to record data about their customers, and a House of Representatives panel approved such a requirement last summer.

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Opinions

  • yabbadabbadoo 2013/01/05 20:14:21
    yabbadabbadoo
    99.99999999999999% of all cops need to have a stroke
  • cc 2012/12/07 08:48:27
  • Stan Kapusta 2012/12/06 03:31:09
    Stan Kapusta
    When that happens It's one feature on my phone that will be blocked. Then removed when the contract is done. That is an outright violation of privacy.
  • Jim 2012/12/06 01:56:41
    Jim
    +1
    Just another step to the demise of America. "Be afraid, be very afraid. "
  • none 2012/12/05 19:44:45
    none
    +1
    If this is the case Americans need to go back to the way it was and start talking instead of texting.
  • Todd Parsons 2012/12/05 18:11:08
    Todd Parsons
    +2
    As soon as the Cell contract is over... discontinuing
  • CAPISCE Todd Pa... 2012/12/05 19:13:07
    CAPISCE
    +1
    I'm with ya
  • Ripley 2012/12/05 15:13:02
    Ripley
    +2
    NO WAY!
  • Amasaman 2012/12/05 15:07:54
    Amasaman
    +1
    Me to cops: No you don't.
  • EvilMonkey 2012/12/05 14:19:20
    EvilMonkey
    +1
    Not only no, but hell no! I don't use text messaging much, but I would think that there wouldn't be a question about this being a Fourth Amendment violation.
  • Tordgaard 2012/12/05 12:00:39
    Tordgaard
    +2
    I was under the impression that the government was already engaged in snooping in on our communications - although I doubt they store it all for 2 years ... that would have to be one very big cloud!
  • Butch 2012/12/05 06:51:02
  • donisue 2012/12/05 06:19:32
    donisue
    +1
    My text messages would be boring and they could have trouble deciphering them, even my friends and family have a problem trying to figure them out.
  • Commander Pyle 2012/12/05 06:15:14
    Commander Pyle
    +1
    We need to provide those who protect us with the resources required to do their jobs. The police and military require that everyone install government cameras in their homes..for your protection. Be a patriot, young men.
  • Cat 2012/12/05 05:12:49
    Cat
    +2
    Seig Heil
  • HillaryLover 2012/12/05 04:50:41
    HillaryLover
    +1
    Scary stuff.
  • marty 2012/12/05 04:39:00
    marty
    Ah, I wish that every time someone other than the intended recipient accessed someone's messages, their computer would fry. Privacy is privacy bitch! I dare say that the number of criminals and 'criminals' caught is a teeny-tiny (like 0.000000000000000000000001%) of the total number of messages (SMS, MMS, Skype, Yahoo, email, etc) hijacked, I mean acquired.
  • NightRyder 2012/12/05 04:28:46
    NightRyder
    That's right, as if anyone was going to rob a bank, a convenience store, or kill someone, the first thing they are going to do is text all the details to someone. Really, I smell a rat here, but before getting that far, I can't figure out who is the stupidest person in this article.

    Is it this Chuck DeWitt guy, or is it the government that believes that someone is going to text a message and then follow through on it. Actually, they better be more watchful of things like Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide. I bet these Idiots believe Jovan Belcher texted the world his intentions all through the day. Hint: cops and friends, People that intend to do such things don’t say a word to anyone about it. If they did, they are welcome to call me and tell me all about it, then when the cops offer a reward because they are too stupid to be cops, and figure a murder out, I can give them a call and save the day. As if something like that was ever going to happen, I can only say, “Ain’t gonna happen, guys. So you better figure out whether you can be a cop before you become one and make a fool out of yourself.
  • Heffeweizen 2012/12/05 04:02:52
    Heffeweizen
    +2
    1984 is a novel, not an instruction manual!
  • realist 2012/12/05 03:59:54 (edited)
    realist
    +2
    Where the hell do they plan to store this stuff and who pays for it. A data-centre the size of a small state, let alone redundancy lol.

    That stuff is crraaaazy expensive.
  • Donna 2012/12/05 03:55:27 (edited)
    Donna
    +5
    As a 20 year veteran of the telecommunications industry, both landline & cellular, i can attest that ALL phone calls data & text are saved indefinitely & can be pulled via subpoena at any time. Nothing you say or type is sacred. Same goes for the intrernet. Even as far back as the 80's I recall the huge 6 Ft tall reels of tape that were kept in large rooms which that held every phone call in my region. Dont be fooled, they already do this.
  • Peter Griffin 2012/12/05 03:53:04
    Peter Griffin
    Yes, it is appropriate. If you want your freedoms back, too late because once you give up your rights, you will never get them back. Welcome to our world.
  • LMA 2012/12/05 03:45:14
    LMA
    +3
    So lets record all phone calls and E-mails and lets make paper shredders Illegal and all letter through US postal will be scanned and hey lets make everyone get a microphone implanted in their mouth that records all speech and why stop their lets put cameras in everyone's homes and invent mind reading tech so your not even safe in your own head, But remember everyone It's for your security. Ya know their was a time cocaine was legal and as i recall the world did not burn. coca cola
  • wildcat 2012/12/05 03:45:09
    wildcat
    no sweat if you don't commit crimes.
  • Herbtheman 2012/12/05 03:32:50
    Herbtheman
    +2
    I never thought I would see our country get this bad.
  • Lord Emperor Kami Guro Bage... 2012/12/05 03:30:48
  • sbtbill 2012/12/05 03:29:08
    sbtbill
    +1
    Bad idea.
  • Shifting Piece 2012/12/05 03:23:58
    Shifting Piece
    +2
    No, you don't need a log of my text messages.
  • Peewee ~PWCM~JLA 2012/12/05 03:23:42
    Peewee ~PWCM~JLA
    +2
    Gee Whiz. What did the police ever do before there were cell phones, smart phones and texting? Just because the technology is there does that mean the 'authorities' automatically have a right to it? Why is it any different than private snail mail?
  • Burning Bright Embers 2012/12/05 03:23:33
    Burning Bright Embers
    animated mexican flag
    or

    animated canadian flag
  • Woof 2012/12/05 03:21:52
    Woof
    What's Obama have to say about this?
  • Peewee ... Woof 2012/12/05 03:24:34
    Peewee ~PWCM~JLA
    +2
    He would most likely be all for it.
  • Woof Peewee ... 2012/12/05 03:53:33
    Woof
    +1
    Ya, so he can keep list's on people as he already does.
  • Peewee ~PWCM~JLA 2012/12/05 03:19:11
    Peewee ~PWCM~JLA
    +1
    So far it's just a proposal. But make note of what they're asking for and keep an eye on it. I make it a practice never to put anything out there I would be embarrassed for my mom to see.
  • Thane36425 2012/12/05 03:19:01
    Thane36425
    +1
    Get a warrant! and on a case by case basis. I'm sure if top law enforcement officers, especially federal, were forced to abide by their own rules of surveillance, the entire system would collapse under the weight of revealed corruption and incompetence.
  • umapathy Krishnamurthy 2012/12/05 02:59:03
    umapathy Krishnamurthy
    It is right only
  • Peewee ... umapath... 2012/12/05 03:20:39
    Peewee ~PWCM~JLA
    Not in America it isn't. But sadly we're getting there.
  • Drummerboy 2012/12/05 02:56:55
  • wtw 2012/12/05 02:54:19
    wtw
    +3
    Just wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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