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Richard S.
Richard S., Accounts and Device Specialist
Category: Cell Phones
Satisfied Customers: 2162
Experience:  5 years working with major US carriers in billing, contracts, devices and network
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If you have a subpoena for text messages & text pictures can

Resolved Question:

If you have a subpoena for text messages & text pictures can they be retrieved and how far
back can they be retrieved?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cell Phones
Expert:  Richard S. replied 5 years ago.
You will NOT be able to get the actual content of the text messages with almost all wireless carriers as they do not keep a record of that information, just the header info (the time the message was sent, the numbers involved etc.) Nor do they store information regarding the content of e-mails. This is a storage and caost issue since TRILLIONS of messages are sent, I also suppose they do it to AVOID having to comply with Subpeonas. here is a little more information that will help and sorry I do not ahvea better answer for you!

"Even the cell phone companies express an inability to save or extract text messages. A T-Mobile spokesperson said that the company can’t discuss the issue at all. Mark Siegel, the executive director of media and industry analyst relations for AT&T Wireless said that he knows of no way to save a text message, other than just not deleting it from the hand set. He said AT&T stores text messages for 48 hours to ensure they are delivered, and then deletes them.

XXXXX XXXXX, from Verizon Wireless, agreed that the only way to keep a message is to keep it on the handset. She said that her company does not keep text messages on their servers for any length of time. However, if there are messages that are retrievable, a subpoena is required to get copies of them.

The text and photo messages cycle through the servers, and then are no longer available if the phone company does not store them, Lewis said. If Verizon gets the court order in time, it will save the messages for a bit of time. “We don't disclose the length of time (except to law enforcement), but it's not lengthy and can vary -- but you can think of it as days not weeks or months,” Lewis said.

The company often works with law enforcement agencies to get calling records and text messages for use in investigations, she said. But for the average customer, the best chance of saving a message is not deleting it, she said. "

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