Law enforcement officials want telecommunication companies to maintain records of private messages for criminal investigations. SMS retention policies vary from company to company, and the proposal would federally mandate data retention from every wireless provider.
On March 19, Richard Littlehale of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation testified before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations stating:
The crime scene of the 21st century is filled with electronic records and other digital evidence. The contents of this digital crime scene, including electronic communications records, often hold the key to solving the case. They also hold the key to ruling out suspects and exonerating the innocent. Law enforcement’s ability to access those records quickly and reliably under the law is fundamental to our ability to carry out our sworn duties to protect the public and ensure justice for victims of crime.
Current law does not mandate that providers share SMS data to law enforcement officials. Changing the legal requirement for data retention could also mean that the information would be available for hackers and others with intentions of malevolence. Further, with 6 billion text messages sent each day – this data bank would cost a lot to maintain.
What do you think? Should companies be required to store private sms data for evidence? Tell us in the comments section.