Phone companies may be forced to keep texts for 2 years - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Phone companies may be forced to keep texts for 2 years

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PHOENIX -

The week of Dec. 3 marks the 20th anniversary of the first text message.

Warning! Your phone bill may go up because the government is changing what cell phone companies need to do with your texts.

Your private texts, messages you send to your friends and to your relatives, may soon be stored for two years, just in case police want to take a look.

It's a controversial idea and it could cost you more on your cell phone bill.

An estimated 6 billion texts are sent in the united states every single day.

How long the actual message is stored depends on the carrier.

According to a report in Wired magazine, AT&T and T-Mobile discard messages immediately, Verizon keeps them five days and Sprint keeps them for 12.

That could all change though, if local and state police have their way.

They want congress to pass a law requiring cell phone companies to keep text information for two years.

"Consumers are probably unaware are even sought after - for two years," said Robert Siciliano.

Siciliano is a Boston based on-line security expert for McAfee. He says privacy is one issue and cost is another.

"Companies like AT&T and Verizon would have to hold our data, employees would also have access to that data as well. This is government regulating to the consumer," said Siciliano.

Right now police do not need a warrant to access your cell phone records. In most cases, the carriers simply hand the information over.

These days a lot of people send more texts, tweets or Facebook messages than they talk face-to-face.

It will be up to congress to decide how much access police will have to all our messages.

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