When it comes to the issue of privacy, recent attention has been focused on social networking sites—particularly on Facebook and Google. But consumers often overlook one other potential source of privacy breach: mobile phone records.
A 2010 Justice Department memo that was recently discovered shows just how much sensitive data phone providers keep. From IP addresses to call logs to text messages and surfing habits, U.S. telecoms house a startling amount of data—often for a long time. T-Mobile, for example, keeps a list of every person with whom you have exchanged text messages for up to five years. Verizon keeps it for one year, Sprint 18 months, and AT&T seven years. Interesting, then, the proposed merger of the two companies that store “a treasure trove” of sensitive data the longest: AT&T and T-Mobile. But before you switch plans, consider this: Verizon is the only company that keeps the content of those messages.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, which discovered the document, says consumers should be concerned that the government would have massive amounts of what could become surveillance data on private citizens.
Read more at Wired.