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New Zealand's fuzz want carriers to save text messages

Chris Ziegler

Carriers usually don't store text messages these days -- or, at the very least, they're smart enough to claim that they don't, or barring even that, they're trying to move away from storing 'em. In a society that values what little privacy it has left, we figure that coming out and telling your customers that their most intimate 160-character communiques are being locked away ad infinitum on some hard drive in a windowless tower somewhere is a recipe for backlash. Indeed, Vodafone's Kiwi outpost doesn't keep texts any longer than it has to, and New Zealand Telecom has said that it'll stop before the end of the year, but the local police have a different idea in mind. Authorities say that they want the ability to sift through messages, and that it won't be a privacy concern because they'll only get down to business after having obtained the proper warrant. That's all well and good, and we can sorta see where the cops are coming from here, except that means carriers are still going to be required to persist the SMSes to begin with -- a privacy concern in itself. The sitch is shaping up to be a bit of a deadlock, though the government is hoping everyone can come to terms without legislation being required. We're not counting on it.


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