Imagine those innocent text messages you wrote a year ago being combined and conflated with other text messages and other information taken out of context to provide a damning narrative for an alleged crime that you are suspected of committing? Now consider the number of dishonest law enforcement personnel and prosecutors who will do or say anything to improve their personal records for purposes of advancement or a future political career? And you have an explosive combination that is likely to make even the innocent look guilty. 

Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans' text messages

State and local law enforcement groups want wireless providers to store detailed information about your SMS messages for at least two years -- in case they're needed for future criminal investigations. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to record and store information about Americans' private text messages for at least two years, according to a proposal that police have submitted to the U.S. Congress.

CNET has learned a constellation of law enforcement groups has asked the U.S. Senate to require that wireless companies retain that information, warning that the lack of a current federal requirement "can hinder law enforcement investigations."They want an SMS retention requirement to be "considered" during congressional discussions over updating a 1986 privacy law for the cloud computing era -- a move that could complicate debate over the measure and erode support for it among civil libertarians.

As the popularity of text messages has exploded in recent years, so has their use in criminal investigations and civil lawsuits. They have been introduced as evidence in armed robbery, cocaine distribution, and wire fraud prosecutions. In one 2009 case in Michigan, wireless provider SkyTel turned over the contents of 626,638 SMS messages, a figure described by a federal judge as "staggering."

Chuck DeWitt, a spokesman for the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, which represents the 63 largest U.S. police forces including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, said "all such records should be retained for two years." Some providers, like Verizon, retain the contents of SMS messages for a brief period of time, while others like T-Mobile do not store them at all.

Along with the police association, other law enforcement groups making the request to the Senate include the National District Attorneys' Association, the National Sheriffs' Association, and the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, DeWitt said. <Source: Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans' text messages | Politics and Law - CNET News>

Where are the laws protecting “We the People” in this age of incompetent, malfeasant or corrupt public officials?

Where is the law that provides a mandatory ten year prison term, with no ability to plea bargain away the charges or possibility of parole if convicted, for any public official, employee, vendor, agent or confidential informant that accesses your electronic records with or without a warrant and uses your non-public personal data for personal, political, commercial use or benefit?

Where is the law that protects other innocent parties from having their information disclosed during a fishing expedition by law enforcement or prosecutorial personnel?

Where are the protections against people being charged and convicted of crimes based on circumstantial evidence seemingly supported by electronic records? Records which can be spoofed, forged or altered without detection?

Already the common carriers have claimed that location data and other “diagnostic” information from your electronic device is their property as a “routine business record” and can be shared or sold without your knowledge or permission. Thus giving rise to the day of the mandatory electronic line-up of suspects and witnesses based on nothing more than the electronic device records of those people who were in the immediate proximity of an alleged crime. A situation in which a material witness may be held by police during an interrogation.

And what of the improper use of messaging to set up a sting? Sending fraudulent communications to make you look guilty so that law enforcement can obtain search warrants based on trumped-up assertions of information from a drug-addled, unreliable confidential informant seeking a release or reduction in their own charges?

In some instances, you can’t even trust activist judges with a political agenda or the desire for media attention.

Where is the compensation scheme for being wrongly charged, convicted and incarcerated? Where are the penalties for those who knowingly disrupt the lives on innocent citizens and their families?

Bottom line …

Law enforcement and prosecution have been hyper-politicized where law enforcement agents and prosecutors will do or say anything to enhance their careers or do favors for special interests. Therefore, they can no longer be trusted to carry out their duties without an independent set of checks and balances against corruption and the misuse of information. It is a sad day when you cannot trust your government to do right by the people and even uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Time to look at putting safeguard laws in place before granting sweeping new powers to collect and store electronic records – especially by the common carriers who are totally infiltrated by former law enforcement officials and politicians and who are prone to do favors for their former friends.

I strongly suggest that you take a moment to join the Electronic Frontier Foundation ( to preserve your Constitutional and privacy rights in an electronic age.

-- steve

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS