The law enforcement officials in many cities are petitioning congress to require by law that cellular carriers store both the meta data (information like who the text massage is sent to and who the message is from) as well as the text messages content for a minimum of 2 years.
Out of the major US carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile) Verizon stores this information already for 5 to 30 days (depending on when the servers flush), while Sprint stores this information for up to 15 days. The GSM carrier AT&T stores only the meta data but not the content for up to 18 months. T-mobile however does not store any information. Last year there were more that 2.2 trillion text messages sent in the United States alone. (That works out to more than 6 billion messages a day) Meaning there would be huge (and more than likely expensive) modifications made to the infrastructure of all US carriers.
These law enforcement officials (from 63 major cities) are wanting it to be mandatory for carriers to store all text message information (content of the message and meta data) for at least 2 years. They pose that it is a vital point in catching criminals.
This same group is also (as part of congresses overhaul of privacy laws from 1986) trying to do the same with email and voicemail messages. This passed in summer of 2011.
Unfortunately this kind of request is becoming all to common on the hill. The Justice Department has publicly called for new laws requiring Internet service providers to record data about their customers. Including the logging of emails and other kinds of traffic sent and received using their networks such has web histories, search results, streaming histories and even television viewing histories.
“We would oppose any mandatory data retention mandate as part of ECPA reform,” says Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. That proposal is “a different kettle of fish — it doesn’t belong in this discussion,” he says.
This all boils down to more spying on customers and citizens and is a violation of your civil liberties.