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Cell Phone Providers Retention Periods

Mon 3 Oct, 2011

Cell Phone Providers Retention Periods

Doing forensics, a common question when Lawyers/Clients are requesting subpoena for court cases, divorce, etc. is how long each Cell Provider company retains cell phone records and text information. Prior to last year the data was only provided to law enforcement via a document marked Law Enforcement Only. However, recently it was published by Wired Magazine.

Verizon states that they maintain call records/IP/Cell Tower information for 1 year or more, but Text Message Content for 3-5 days and Pictures for however long the client deems. Be quick on that Subpoena.

T-Mobile states that they maintain call records/Cell Tower information for 6 months to 1 year or more, but Text Message content – NOT AT ALL, Pictures stored online as long as the client wants or until cancels.

AT&T maintains all Cell Tower detail since July 2008 but Text Message Content is not retained at all. IP information retained for 72 hours if non-public, if public IP not retained at all.

Sprint/Nextel maintains cell tower info for 18-24 months, but again Text Message Content is not retained at all. IP session info is retained for 60 days.

Virgin Mobile actually retains the Text Message Details for 90 days but requires Search Warrant. All other info seems to not be retained.

So here is the data sheet provided by Wired Magazine for retention for Cell Phone caries if you have not already seen that.

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2011/09/retentionpolicy.pdf