While this isn’t the least bit surprising, the Kobe Bryant case has brought to light the fact that the major cell phone carriers keep copies of text messages sent via their networks. In this case, the judge has ordered AT&T to hand over the transcripts of text messages sent by the alleged victim shortly after she had sex with Bryant. Engadget has a short write-up of the issue: AT&T Wireless keeps all your Text Messages.
According to this post at Engadget, Sprint and Cingular do not retain copies of yoru text message:
>[T]he guy who designed and implemented the SMS text messaging systems for Sprint and a large part of what is now Cingular gave us the scoop on how both carriers offer considerably more privacy than AT&T Wireless:
>>While the Sprint system is MUCH more sophisticated and does retain some data for a long time (billing and usage info, and similar) neither of these systems retain the actual content of SMS messages. Sprint’s system lets the user have a web based SMS mailbox (like an web mail but for SMS messages) and messages can be kept, at the user’s choice, in their mailbox but once a message is deleted, it’s gone. In Cingular’s case there is no retention at all. So, while the piece is true as relates to AT&T, it definately isn’t for Cingular and Sprint.