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Congress Might Require the Permanent Storage of All Your Dirty Sexts


March 19, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Texting may soon join the ranks of Facebook, Twitter, and other communication platforms that creepily record and permanently store all of your private interactions. Are you really all that surprised?

If passed, a proposal being presented to Congress today would require all major wireless providers to capture and store customers’ SMS messages — meaning all of your texts would become fair game for police investigations.

“Billions of texts are sent every day, and some surely contain key evidence about criminal activity,” Rich Littlehale of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation plans to tell the Congressional panel today. “In some cases, this means that critical evidence is lost. Text messaging often plays a big role in investigations related to domestic violence, stalking, menacing, drug trafficking, and weapons trafficking.”

This would be a major (and majorly invasive) change from most wireless providers’ current policies, which range from AT&T/ T-Mobile/ Sprint’s no storage-at-all stance to Virgin Mobile’s up-to-90-days storage policy. Ah, but that’s just the beginning! Part of the proposal includes an “emergency” revision to the current Electronic Communications Privacy Act which would sometimes allow cops to access your SMS records without a search warrant. Oh, boy.

Surely¬†you have nothing — ahem ahem — on your phone you’d rather the cops not be looking at, so who cares, right?