Israeli Telecom Sued For Storing SMS Message Content

We’ve heard a lot about security loopholes, malware and other problems related to SMS recently, but this one is truly scary.  An Israeli wireless carrier has been sued for allegedely wiretapping, in thatit stores all SMS messages sent or received over its network.

The lawsuit emphasizes that Pelephone, the wireless carrier in question, not only stores “communications data”, such as when messages are sent, the phone numbers of the sender and recipient, and length of the SMS, but that the company also keeps the entire content of the messages.

Pelephone admits that they do in fact store SMS content in a “secured database” with limited access, and that they only store the content of any one message for no longer than one month.  The reason they do so is to “provide SMS services,” the company states.  The spokesman also admitted that the time the company holds the content of SMS messages varies slightly from system to system- meaning that it most likely keeps the content much longer than one month in most cases.

Upon signing up for service with Pelephone, users give “implied consent” to the saving of their SMS message content, the company claims, but the those sueing the company see it differently.  The claimants argue that Pelephone has no authorization to save SMS messages, and that it infringes on both the privacy of its subscribers and on the privacy of subscribers of other networks, by concealing the fact of the storage from them.

Not many details have been released regarding the outcome of this lawsuit, as its still being played out, but we’ll definitely be watching this one.  It just goes to show you that you should always read the fine print, even when signing up for wireless service.