A group of police officers are asking the Senate to force wireless providers, such as AT&T and Verizon, to keep detailed records of private texts for up to two years. Police say the texts could help with investigations, according to CNET.
Currently, wireless providers aren't required to keep records of private texts, though some do, like Virgin mobile and Verizon. Others, like T-mobile and AT&T, keep only the metadata - the phone numbers associated with a given text and not the content of a text - on file for 90 days to 18 months.
This has led to some confusion in the courts, with one Rhode Island judge expressing her surprise at the vastly different policies between wireless providers.
The police proposal would be tacked on to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act , a 1986 electronic privacy law that's now being updated to reflect current digital concerns. The law as currently written heavily favors privacy rights. CNET reports the text push appears to be an attempt by law enforcement to include one of their priorities as well.