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Cops To Congress: We Need Logs of Americans' Text Messages

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

Communications 342

Dainsanefh tips a CNET report about a number of law enforcement groups who have put forth a proposal to the U.S. Senate to require wireless providers to keep logs of subscriber text messages for a minimum of two years. "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."

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Americans to cops: (4, Interesting)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183161)

We'll start using encrypted apps instead of SMS

Re:Americans to cops: (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183193)

No we wont. We may SAY we will, but we cant be bothered.

Re:Americans to cops: (1)

logjon (1411219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183211)

Smart people will, and the low-hanging fruit will continue getting plucked. More or less, business as usual.

Catch 22: (2)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183455)

If they use obvious encryption, they will flag themselves to be investigated by other means.

Re:Catch 22: (0)

logjon (1411219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183491)

They can waste their times investigating me to my heart's content.

Re:Catch 22: (2, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183745)

Why encrypt data if you do to care if the government knows it?

Or you actually believe that the FBI could not know everything about you if they wanted to?
Encryption does no good if you control the sender/receiver, or built a back-door into the encryptor/phone to begin with.

Re:Catch 22: (4, Informative)

logjon (1411219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183829)

Why encrypt data if you do to care if the government knows it? Because it's none of their fucking business. Or you actually believe that the FBI could not know everything about you if they wanted to? If they want to waste their time, they can go right ahead. I'm not going to help them, though. Let them bore the fuck out of themselves. Encryption does no good if you control the sender/receiver, or built a back-door into the encryptor/phone to begin with. No shit.

Re:Catch 22: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183911)

Let them bore the fuck out of themselves.

Actually, I'd rather not spend my taxpayer dollars on this.

Re:Catch 22: (0)

logjon (1411219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183947)

And I'd rather not spend my tax dollars intercepting my own communications.

Re:Catch 22: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183859)

For my part, everything in my house, save the gaming rigs, uses encrypted storage not because I have anything terribly important stored, but because I want it to be as difficult and time-consuming as humanly possible for the jackboots to find absolutely nothing. I'm sort of an asshole like that.

Re:Catch 22: (4, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183899)

I was investigated repeatedly by the NSA and they couldn't produce more than half a sheet of paper about me. They got a 20 page thick tome when they were done, made up entirely of things I admitted to under polygraph, and denied my clearance. 80% of my life was unaccountable to them. It frightened the shit out of them.

I don't go to any great lengths to hide. I'm just highly compartmentalized, enough that few people know much about me at all, and there's not a lot of pieces to put together. People who grew up with me can't ascribe anything more to me than face-value. Where does he go? What are his hobbies? Oh... I dunno, we just went to high school together for four years, never seen him outside school, never talked about his home life or family ... he seems good at computers, I think one day he'll be Bill Gates..

Absolutely nothing on me. Not like... no criminal history, no dirt... but nothing. I look like a constructed identity. A really obvious constructed identity. Problem is they're looking at my real identity and I have no actual background; records for school, medical records--which barely fit on half a page--and a few people who recognize my name but know nothing about me and have no alibi for where I've been ever.

Re:Catch 22: (2)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183605)

Or they use an app that bypasses the SMS network entirely. Plenty of stories out now about things like Facebook messenger killing SMS.
Can't be that hard to create a custom app if need be that uses a more secure backend.

Re:Catch 22: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183693)

Very true, but it means that there has to be active work done instead of just a cronjob of a bunch of greps that spit out results.

Every time a proposal like this hits, it just escalates the arms race:

IP addresses get logged, the crooks move to proxies. Said proxies get raided, they moved to offshore ones in countries that are at best indifferent to US demands.

P2P swarms get recorded, so people just find a fast proxy across the pond.

If text messages get recorded, there are a lot of smartphone apps for Android, iOS and the other big names.

Don't forget businesses... they will end up getting pushed to Silent Circle, or some type of encrypted network as well.

End result: With demanding more and more logkeeping by ISPs, it just means that the logs will be worthless as people reach for encryption programs.

Re:Catch 22: (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183909)

If that happens (I'd say possible, but not likely for casual crime, and very likely for large criminals and some terrorist cells)., it will make intercepts with warrent lose their value too. Though I suspect anybody that cares is using encrypted IMs already (as once there's a warrent I'm sure they're available in real time).

Re:Americans to cops: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183271)

Not just bothered, average person might not even realize this and if he does he might think it is the norm.

Re:Americans to cops: (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183581)

It all depends on the incentive.

Re:Americans to cops: (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183601)

I won't even say I will. If I have something super secret to say, I'll do it face to face or find something more secure than texts.

Still not a fucking reason to give up an ounce of privacy. Crime is low. I don't see any evidence that the police can't manage to keep order without reading our SMS messages from the past two years.

Re:Americans to cops: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183281)

I really am not interested in training my drug dealer how to use encryption.

Re:Americans to cops: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183487)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=google+play+encrypted+sms
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.uwho.utext.sms&hl=en

I just trained you for less incentive than getting high or staying out of jail.

Re:Americans to cops: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183557)

Here, have a great afternoon.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=eat+shit+and+die [lmgtfy.com]

uText is not a solution for everybody (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183699)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.uwho.utext.sms&hl=en

It's not a solution for everybody. From the page: "This app is incompatible with all of your devices." It only works if both ends of the connection have Android phones, smartphone plans, and a copy of this paid application. I imagine that some privacy-minded people use prepaid "burner" phones. But in the United States market, smartphone service can cost seven times as much as dumbphone service (source: virginmobileusa.com). A lot of carriers will not activate an Android phone on a dumbphone plan (in the case of CDMA2000) or will upgrade a dumbphone plan to a smartphone plan if the SIM is inserted into an Android phone (in the case of GSM/UMTS).

Re:Americans to cops: (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183363)

Cops if they are doing their job, they would like to have more information. However I hope congress is working for the Americans and realize our justice system was designed to favor the innocent, Law enforcement cannot be an easy or an efficient job, even though they will be able to catch more bad guys and probably save a lot of lives. American Liberty is the greater good over safety.

Re:Americans to cops: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183707)

As long as cops are required to obtain a warrant before getting access to the info, how exactly is liberty harmed here? A financial burden on the people who must now store extra data they were not storing before, sure. I could see this being expanded to harm hobbyists in things completely unrelated to text messages. But a harm to liberty? Unless warrants are too easy to obtain, I'm not seeing it. And if the problem is that warrants are too easy to obtain, then we should probably focus on changing that rather than limiting what a warrant may uncover.

And of course, if the problem is that a warrant is not required, then we should probably focus on making sure that a warrant is always required.

Re:Americans to cops: (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183425)

Unlikely. See: number of people who stopped bothering with PGP because they wanted to use GMail to check their mail from wherever.

Re:Americans to cops: (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183517)

Those people are probably not dealing drugs.

Re:Americans to cops: (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183545)

Correct.

They are commuting stock/bank fraud.

Re:Americans to cops: (2)

lennier (44736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183687)

They are commuting stock/bank fraud.

To a lesser sentence while driving to work? Judges are getting really lazy these days.

Re:Americans to cops: (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183805)

Then they are idiots. If you are going to do something sensitive and/or illegal, why would you do it over a very insecure median when you can use alternatives that are fairly secure.

Re:Americans to cops: (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183931)

i use PGP with gmail, i write my emails on thunderbird sign encrypt, thunderbird has via pop access to gmail so i'm good.

Re:Americans to cops: (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183485)

Or simply a SMS client that encrypts the characters before sending the SMS.

Re:Americans to cops: (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183521)

If it was that easy the police wouldn't have been able to wiretap anything once skype came out (until the MS takeover and it is presumably now wire-tappable).

The phone system isn't secure, from the government or hackers, but people still use it for all sorts of business. People who know full well their technology can be tapped and tracked still use it for criminal purposes, because most people, criminals included, are stupid.

Re:Americans to cops: (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183667)

Yes but every single phone isn't tapped and recorded for 2 years.
This is slightly different.

Re:Americans to cops: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183565)

A lot of folks already do: iMessage.

Yay for T mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183167)

Makes me more willing to put up with the flakiness of their service in some areas now. Dunno why they don't store SMS messages, don't care. The fact they don't, and have some of the best tethering plans in my area make me happy.

The People to Cops.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183175)

No.

Re:The People to Cops.... (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183319)

How about, "Sure thing, but you need a warrant to access them"?

Re:The People to Cops.... (5, Insightful)

Paran (28208) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183867)

Get a warrant, intercept them realtime. Next they'll want recordings of conversations to be saved for X years. If a judge thinks a person is worth surveillance, then fine, but my past communications shouldn't be archived "just in case I'm a criminal".

Re:The People to Cops.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183327)

Cops to people: As if we could care less.

Cell companies to cops... and marketeers (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183523)

Sure we can give you the texts... for a price.

Re:The People to Cops.... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183569)

How about:

Show us yours, we'll show you ours?

I say go ahead ... (0)

ryan.onsrc (1321531) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183181)

... SMS is overpriced anyway. That will give me another excuse to tell friends to stop texting me.

Re:I say go ahead ... (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183263)

Ya as a geek I refuse to buy into the texting scam that the cell phone providers have going. I think I can found the number of texts I've sent over the years on two hands.

Re:I say go ahead ... (0)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183757)

Just because you're a poor lonely nerd in your mothers basement doesn't mean you need to take it out on text messaging. Go out and get some friends and you may actually have the chance to communicate more.

Re:I say go ahead ... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183939)

I spend $5/mo for unlimited texts.

No (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183243)

These messages shouldn't be archived. If the police need to see the communications, they should be required to get a warrent, and only be able to intercept communications as their happening - as would happen with a wiretap.

Law enforcement should not be able to go back through prior communications that occurred before they got a warrant.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183413)

The police normally only investigate crimes after they have already happened so they need to get evidence from the time period that the crime happened in.

I agree with you that they should need to get a warrant, much like they have to to get your phone records, but I think that they should be allowed to get text messages that are less than one month old, but beyond one month they should only get a notice that a text happened, but not the actual message.

Re:No (5, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183531)

Do you think they should be able to get the audio of any phone conversation up to a month old? Why should one kind of data be retained, for no other reason than its easy and cheap to retain, but not another?

Why should text recieve, in any way, less protection than audio, other than due to a side effect of the technical details of how it is implemented?

Re:No (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183731)

Do you think they should be able to get the audio of any phone conversation up to a month old?

If that was information that was normally stored in the course of business, then yes, but there should be no special provisions asking the phone companies to start storing that information.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Nialin (570647) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183747)

Your phone doesn't record and retain your voice calls, if it did, you bet your sweet ass they'd be going after a more lengthy history of voice communiques.

It's default that most phones save messages, and because it's convenient for a large majority of users. Due to this, phones record innumerable amounts of texts; smartphones especially.

Change how the phone works, and you change the expectation of content delivery, archival, and investigation.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183711)

The problem isn't granting them access with a warrant. The problem is that they are trying to induce storage for no other reason than to maintain a POTENTIAL evidence database.

Why should there be a requirement to maintain these messages? Should there be a requirement to make a copy of every letter that passes through the post office and maintain it for x months? Of course not, because such a copy isn't necessary to transmit the letter.

I hate that people treat the default for all Rights these days in the manner of: None, unless proven otherwise.

Re:No (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183937)

I agree they should be able to get the information if they have a warrant, but that the companies should not be forced to store the information.

Basically I'm not looking to put stupid barriers in the way of a criminal investigation, but not looking for this to become a police state.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183469)

Why?

Phone calls aren't recorded and it would be unrealistic to record every phone call, so "Because you can't look into the past with wiretaps" is not an acceptable response.

If a police department gets a warrant to search your house should they only be aloud to look at things that entered the house after the warrant was issued?

Re:No (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183703)

If my math is right, a person talking on the phone for an hour per day is only a little over 4 gigs per year at typical cell phone bitrates. Are you saying that it is unrealistic for the phone company to keep 12 gigabytes of storage per customer for three years? If not, then voice recording is not unrealistic.

Based on that, the fact that they aren't doing voice recording means there's something fundamentally wrong about doing so, and text messages should not be any different.

Re:No (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183713)

No, they should obey the terms of the warrant, and the 4th amendment.

You know, that niggle little screed the founding fathers sharted out that says the police have to have a specific list of things they are to take when exercising a warrant, and that everything else is private property and hands-off?

Yeah. That one.

18 terabytes per month (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183825)

it would be unrealistic to record every phone call

I disagree. The capacity of communications networks increases over time, but the user base of voice does not increase as fast because it's already hit saturation. Say there are 300 million cell phone subscribers in a market, and each spends 1000 minutes on the phone per month, and each call is recorded at 8 kilobits per second. 300,000,000*1000*60*8/8 is only 18 terabytes per month. What's the total size in bytes of video uploaded to, say, YouTube per month?

Re:No (2)

blacke4dawn (1747492) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183907)

Think you got your analogies mixed up a bit here.

Searching a house would be equal to searching the phone itself, and there they can look at anything stored on it regardless of when it was first stored. What they are asking here would be much more equal to having the USPS, FedEx, UPS and such copy (or at least make an exact record of the contents) anything shipped through them and store it for two years+ so that the police can later go back and view what was actually shipped. It's one thing recording when something was shipped/transmitted, it's something completely different recording and storing the contents of said shipment/transmission.

What's the analagous communication type? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183245)

Does the USPS need to scan all letters? Do cell conversations need to be recorded and stored? Do emails need to be retained by the host?

Is this April 1st?

Re:What's the analagous communication type? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183683)

To play devil's advocate, no, the USPS does not, but most drug dealers aren't using snail-mail to coordinate while they are using texts. And scanning every letter would cost the taxpayer much more than storing texts would. Cell phones would also cost a lot.

That's the realistic answer to why they don't. It's stupid, because of course taxpayer money should not be a concern compared to our civil liberties.

yawn (2)

MakersDirector (2767101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183257)

Already being done. All communication is waveform data, all waveform is available 'on the ether', NSA/CIA cracked this years ago.

Just contact them, they'll hook you up...

they never had it before... (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183279)

This is in violation of the US Constitution and they can be considered showing intent to violate it. They should lose their jobs as clearly they are not acting in accord to the public they are supposed to serve, Neither are the politicians who will likely pass it.

Re:they never had it before... (2)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183377)

They may obtain said text messages with a warrant obtained legally.

This is how we do things in America. We are not a police-state. We are not a military-state.

Deal with it.

Re:they never had it before... (5, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183595)

And yet, you are totally missing the point. Its not a question of whether they should be able to obtain the messages, legally, with a warrant (which, incidentally, they currently don't actually need as far as I know). Thats totally off topic, if its there, of course they can get at it with cause.

The question is, why should it be retained. Why should the phone company be REQUIRED to store data, from everyone, all the time, based on their assertion that they might need to request it later?

My phone calls are not recorded, why should they not also be required to retain the audio of the calls? Why, other than current details of old laws, should the two types of personal data, be in in any way, treated differently?

Re:they never had it before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183945)

"The question is, why should it be retained. Why should the phone company be REQUIRED to store data, from everyone, all the time, based on their assertion that they might need to request it later?"

It's worse. Imagine what the phone companies themselves will start doing with it if they have to eat the cost of storing all that stuff. Many terabytes of stored text messages laying around from their customers? They'll try to figure out some way to make money off it to cover the costs. That's an equally scary prospect.

Re:"We are not a police-state." (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183717)

Ah... The good old days.

Today:
At the border: Papers Please!

Walking down the road: Papers Please!
http://papersplease.org/hiibel/case.html [papersplease.org]

Re:they never had it before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183463)

I am pretty sure that the Constitution allows police officers to lobby Congress to pass a law. You know, the right to petition the government and all.

Dear These Kinds of Cops (1)

sandysnowbeard (1297619) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183287)

Take your paycheck, go home safely, and do not infringe upon civil liberties.

bad move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183293)

The dumb crooks will be caught and tie up legal resources, the smarter (higher value) ones will adapt and cover their tracks. This is analogous to laying out traps for varmints.

Then there's the small issue of the Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights (unreasonable search and seizure).

Hmmm (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183309)

Wife to self: "Hun, buy some sugar before you come home"
Cops to self: "This is obviously code for methyl-p"
Self to cops: "No it's not - she's making some icing for a carrot cake"
Cops to self: "Ho ho, merry christmas and save me a slice"

Code need not be complex.

Hey coppper (1)

jasper160 (2642717) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183321)

Read that Constitution thing.

Give up your dangerous privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183343)

But keep your perfectly safe guns

Logs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183347)

First it was folders full of women now it's logs of Americans, where will this end?

Makes me glad I'm switching (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183349)

Gives me extra comfort in switching to t-mobile like I am currently planning to do.

By the way, anybody in the Phoenix area (east valley especially) care to comment on the quality of service t-mobile offers here? I like how cheap their plans are, and Sprint has very well pissed me off lately so I'm in the process of ditching them.

Re:Makes me glad I'm switching (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183419)

I like how cheap their plans are, and Sprint has very well pissed me off lately so I'm in the process of ditching them.

A girl sent me a 950KB picture yesterday that took my phone 18 minutes to download. The Sprint network in Phoenix blows. I'm not sure how to find the article now, but I seem to remember a survey from a couple years ago which claimed that Verizon had the best network in Phoenix. That may have changed though. All I know is that Sprint can't be bothered to put 4G service here, even though I have a 4G Sprint phone that's 2 and a half years old.

Re:Makes me glad I'm switching (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183603)

I like how cheap their plans are, and Sprint has very well pissed me off lately so I'm in the process of ditching them.

A girl sent me a 950KB picture yesterday that took my phone 18 minutes to download. The Sprint network in Phoenix blows. I'm not sure how to find the article now, but I seem to remember a survey from a couple years ago which claimed that Verizon had the best network in Phoenix. That may have changed though. All I know is that Sprint can't be bothered to put 4G service here, even though I have a 4G Sprint phone that's 2 and a half years old.

Of course, the question on all our minds:

How'd her boobs look?

fuck the police (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183387)

They don't even hold onto documents relating to their own wrong doing, why should they ask for ours.... Fix the police and maybe I won't mind... Corruption now adays is staggering, I've heard that 9/10 police violations are now covered up by the internal affair officer and the chief of police of most police departments.... Fuck the police.

And in 3 years.... (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183395)

Yes, because communication companies can always be trusted to secure their user's data. Ignore those black-suit guys with the sunglasses and the CIA/FBI/NSA badges working in the Farraday cage room with biometric security, they are NOT streaming your text messages to Langley/DC/Fort Meade for analysis. There are not Exabytes of storage capabilities at said facilities in order to "protect national security".

Nothing to see here folks. /sarcasm

Recent Years eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183407)

"As the popularity of text messages has exploded in recent years..."

Hey, everybody! Have you heard about this thing called Texting. You type out letters on your phone it and sends them to a friend. How rad is that!

Man, I love living in 2001.

encryption is not compatible with a free society (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183437)

Encryption, atleast for use by the public, will be illegal soon.

Re:encryption is not compatible with a free societ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183585)

Can't wait to sniff everyone's bank info and passwords then.

NWA Said it Best (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183443)

Fuck the Po-lice.

Why stop there? (4, Interesting)

Minwee (522556) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183445)

How about complete audio recordings of all phone calls, and copies of every piece of mail delivered?

Or did you try that before [wikipedia.org] , and ran into some trouble with the Supreme Court, the Fourth Ammendment, and a planet full of Ewoks [wikipedia.org] over forty years ago?

Know what would really make sense? (5, Interesting)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183453)

Why not require cops to put video/audio recorders in all their cars and require them to keep the tapes for 2 years. Make any missing tape a felony so that the incentive to "lose" them disappears. That would do more to make our country a better place than keeping SMS messages.

Citizen to congress... (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183457)

The hell they do.

Texts need to be treated the same as verbal communications. Law enforcement needs to acquire permission to wire tap a persons phone ahead of time. Then, and only then should the texts be logged or stored. Or should the phone companies be expected to keep a recording of all conversations over their networks for two years also?

Ok, I'll say it (1)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183529)

Whenever companies like Facebook or Google do things with our data that raise serious privacy concerns, the majority of slashdotters' reaction is "meh, if you don't like it, then don't use it." Oh the irony that you complain about this then.

Re:Ok, I'll say it (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183625)

Whenever companies like Facebook or Google do things with our data that raise serious privacy concerns, the majority of slashdotters' reaction is "meh, if you don't like it, then don't use it." Oh the irony that you complain about this then.

Probably because Facebook and Google don't log SMSes (well, Google does if you use Google Voice). So the police already know they can get at all that data in your Facebook/Google account, but they don't have anything if you text.

If Google managed to log all SMSes as well, the police probably wouldn't bother asking for text logs anyhow - getting it form Google is easier.

so, basically.. (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183539)

So, basically they are saying something like this:

"But you want us to stop those dirty, nasty people that want to sell your little angel a bag of crack, and who want nothing more than to destroy our way of life, right? Well, in order to do that any better than we alread are, because those people are adapting to the changing flow of technology, we will have to have access to those mediums!"

We should reply in kind:

"Text messages should be intercepted live, and not recorded in advance. Your convenience is not worth our privacy. Get a warrant for a wire tap, monitor the transmissions of your suspect, and either arrest or not arrest based on the messages you collect duing the surveylence window. We will *not* write you a blank cheque."

Of course, that isn't how this will pan out. My cynical nature screams at me that the police will kick their feet, balk, whine, and throw a PR hissyfit with the press about those mean, dirty people with their dirty secrets wanting to hurt innocent people and children in order to protect themselves from justice, by supressing the motion.

The whole "only those with something to hide" rhetoric.

Nevermind the famous cardinal richelou quote: "give me 5 written lines from the most pious man alive, and I will find something to hang him." (Paraphrased)

We don't demand security and privacy from the police because we are crooked ourselves, or to protect crooked people. We do it to protect the innocent from those in power, who are above the law. (Like said cardinal was.)

As long as there is a "thin blue line", they can never have what they are asking for.

Re:so, basically.. (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183855)

Of course, that isn't how this will pan out. My cynical nature screams at me that the police will kick their feet, balk, whine, and throw a PR hissyfit with the press about those mean, dirty people with their dirty secrets wanting to hurt innocent people and children in order to protect themselves from justice, by supressing the motion.

You're less cynical than I am. I think that the conversation will go something like this:
Police: We think we should trap all text messages.
Congress: Can we use this to spy on Occupy protesters, right-wing protesters, and anyone else we find politically inconvenient?
Police: Sure, no problemo.
Congress: Ok, passed unanimously with no debate.

Crazy (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183541)

What exactly is the legal difference between this and demanding that all conversations be recorded and available for police perusal. I am not only talking about phone conversations but making it mandatory to have an app running on our smart phones recording everything and transmitting it to a police server. Is somehow text exempt from the 4th amendment.

The police seem to think that they have some magical right to eat away at our rights in order to do their jobs. Well what about an appliance salesman, shouldn't he have the right to examine your credit / banking information so that he can more efficiently sort out potential customers from posers; isn't he just doing his job?

You might think this is some hyperbole but years ago I did some work for a local phone company. In their technology sales department they regularly looked up customer phone records to see if potential customers were talking with other technology companies. Were these guys just using the tools at hand to do a good job? Seems victimless, until you consider the huge imbalance against the other technology companies. Would the solution have been to give the same records to the other technology companies? Or maybe there should be a constitutionally enshrined right to privacy.

Personally I would want to see the rights to privacy only be violable in the more significant of crimes; murder, kidnapping, etc. Not for drug offenses or anything as silly as a divorce. Plus the penalties for violating privacy should be huge. If the phone/credit card company sells my records to a "trusted third party" I want to see some executives do some jail time.

iMessage, Google Voice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183593)

I'm guessing that a healthy percentage of "text messages" in the US don't even go through the wireless system as SMS. Of course, then the cops can just go to Apple and get everything....

why not record everything (2)

RichMan (8097) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183611)

I would help the cops more if the microphone was always on a complete recording of everything in ear shot of the phone was kept in storage for when it was needed. Seems silly, just wait for bandwidth and storage costs to drop a little more.

Whose phone is it? Who is paying for the service? Why does my phone have to serve the usage of the police? Why can't it do what I want, send and receive messages with no record?
Why is there the assumption that because it can be done it must be done? ((... "for the sake of the children"...))

Why can't we have devices that serve the user?

Possibly a bit invasive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183619)

That is awfully close to storing, say, a copy of every letter for two years, isn't it?

Alright, so it's only "up to 160 characters". So compare it to storing every telegram sent for two years. Or every tweet. Oh wait, that's already being stored indefinitely, by some unaccountable commercial party. Including every supposedly "private" tweet. Hm. Does that justify giving all that to law enforcement? Yes? No? Discuss.

I use iMessage, not SMS (1)

LordRobin (983231) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183627)

Apple is not a "wireless provider". Is the same law going to require Apple to archive all their messages? What about all the other alternative messaging apps you can get for your smartphone?

This doesn't work unless we declare that any provider of text communication between two individuals be archived, just in case the authorities want it.

------RM

Proposal to Law Enforcement (2)

DodgeRules (854165) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183647)

I have no problem with the carriers having 1 year retention of SMS messages if law enforcement have no problem with getting a court ordered warrant before they can access them. The warrant needs to be narrowed to a particular phone number and for a specific date/time range and not a blanket "everything in this zip code during the month of July".

More than 1 year retention required by Law enforcement and they aren't doing their jobs properly. And sorry Columbo, no peeking without probable cause.

just one app to kill this (1)

MooseTick (895855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183715)

All it would take is one android/ios app to read/send encrypted SMS messages and this would be defeated. Of course the cops would then try to extract your keys but that couldn't happen near as easy.

Libraries Too (4, Insightful)

TheAngryMob (49125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183767)

I like the fact that my library (and most others) destroy records of checkouts after you return a book so that the information can't be used in an investigation or trial.

Just because I read some Karl Marx, doesn't make me a commie. Likewise, just because I texted a quote from the Koran doesn't make me a terrorist.

Makes you wonder how they solved crime before (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183785)

How did police ever solve crimes when analog technology didn't record every utterance of every person on the planet? Police also support the imposition of a police state with enhanced powers of abuse for police. Not everything the police want is good for society.

Well, this is guaranteed to pass into law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183811)

There's WAY too much riding on this for it to not pass. And it's a win-win for absolutely everyone (except of course us, the public, but we don't count because we're just consumables meant to be used and thrown away anyway).

Think about it. The legal system gets to go on fishing trips and tag a pile of people for petty crime like people dealing weed or kids bragging about throwing a rock through windows or whatnot. That way, they fill the prisons, or get new ones built, and the prison system just keeps raking it in.

The telephone companies, whom are charging us exorbitantly for text messages despite it *literally* requiring no additional bandwidth (can't remember the terms for where it's sent, but it's attached to data that would otherwise be sent regardless of if there's a text or not) can now absolutely crank the shit out of texting charges, citing this storage business as costing them an arm and a leg. 20 cent text messages (for pay-as-you-go types like me... for both sending AND receiving of course)? HAH! After this goes through, I'll honestly be surprised if they're only 50 cents, or they might just crank it up to a buck a text. For both sending AND receiving, of course. Like they'd give up their legalized double-dipping.

The legal system gets a ton of new small-time offenders that they can fine the absolute living piss out of, so there's a ton of money coming in for that.

And yeah... there's no downside whatsoever to this (again, ignoring the 99% who are actually affected by this, because we're lower caste, and therefore basically not human and can continue being exploited as much as humanly possible).

So therefore, there's no way this won't pass. There's nobody (that counts) that would be negatively affected by this who would complain.

More Prisons needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42183817)

Doesn’t the existence of cheap burner cell phone make all this data logging point less if you are trying to catch criminals. What’s to stop a criminal from having a new phone every couple of hours to text with? All this would do is make it easier to bust non lifetime felons (average folk) and turn more of the working class into the felon class.

Cops & Snitches (1)

solosaint (699000) | about a year and a half ago | (#42183919)

So if this is made into law ... will the logs between cop and snitch be logged too? I hope so ;)
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