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September 29th 2011 1:23 pm

Which cell service provider stores your personal data the longest?

The folks over at Wired have gotten their hands on an interesting Department of Justice document from August 2010 called "Retention Periods of Major Cellular Service Providers" that details how long they hold onto your data: this includes subscriber info, cell and text message details, IP sessions, and so on. Wired has helpfully created some easy-to-read infographics to lay it all out:


As a T-Mobile customer it concerns me that they would hold on to my text message details for as much as five years—but at least they don't store the actual content of those messages like Verizon does (3–5 days).

How concerned are you about your call data being stored? How long a storage period is too long? Is this something that would make you consider a different provider?

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I'm not all concerned about the call data being stored. What I am concerned about is the data being compromised in any way. If they are taking the necessary measure to secure this data from "prying eyes", then I am okay with it.

Does one necessarily need to be concerned about data retention if one hasn't really done anything wrong for it to be held against them?
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Regardless of whether you actually did anything wrong, the authorities only need to think you did something wrong and can use your cell data against you. Even if nothing ultimately comes of it, it's still a major pain in the ass to deal with (and can be much, much worse). This is the same reason libraries no longer store borrowing records for patrons.
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