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The report begins: "Many wireless carriers keep people's cellphone data for more than a year, according to a Justice Department document released by the American Civil Liberties Union."

AT&T artwork. (photo: Gizmodo)
AT&T artwork. (photo: Gizmodo)

ACLU: Cellphone Companies Storing Data for Years

By Brendan Sasso, The Hill

02 October 11


any wireless carriers keep people's cellphone data for more than a year, according to a Justice Department document released by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The government document was meant to help law enforcement agents who were seeking cellphone records for their investigations. The ACLU obtained the document as part of a Freedom of Information Act request for records on how law enforcement agencies use cellphone data.

According to the 2010 document, the four national wireless carriers all keep records of which cellphone towers a phone uses for at least a year. This information could potentially be used to determine a person's location.

T-Mobile officially keeps the cell tower data for four to six months, but the document notes that the period is "really a year or more." AT&T keeps all cell tower records since July 2008, Verizon keeps the data for one rolling year and Sprint keeps the information for 18 to 24 months.

"Do you remember where you were on September 28, 2008? If you have AT&T/Cingular, your phone company may know. And they might tell the cops," the ACLU's Allie Bohm wrote in a blog post.

All of the carriers keep details of phone calls for at least one year. For customers who pay a monthly bill (rather than buying pre-paid cards), AT&T keeps call details for five to seven years. T-Mobile keeps that information for five years.

The carriers also keep text message details for at least a year, but most of them do not retain the content of the message. Verizon does store text message content, but only for three to five days. your social media marketing partner


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+6 # Sheila 2011-10-02 12:31
Big brother is watching. Beware.
+1 # williamofthetrees 2011-10-03 07:50
The Public Square is after all Public: where WE are all equal; where life needs to flow and become renewed so as to channel into every house and institution the spirit of the times. The fact that force is used on the people against the expression of that spirit is an intrusion of authoritarian power. The objective force of speech not only as a right in the full sense of the term but as a quality in the human being that keeps "life" alive is what needs to be protected above all else. Transparency, communication, solidarity are aspects of trust between human beings and are all needed for a healthy development of a humane society.

No one should need to hide anything but there are realms of privacy that authoritarian power invades only because it intends to use it against the people.

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