Telecom data retention refers to the process of preserving all traffic data and subscriber data for various telecommunications services for a period of months and years. However, this data does not include the content of a communication.
Law enforcement agencies and intelligence services regard the access to retained telecom data as a pillar of modern crime investigation and the prevention of terrorism.
Retained electronic data is regularly used to identify and trace suspects, uncover terrorists’ social networks, or to collect admissible evidence for court proceedings.
Many countries around the world have passed laws to define the authority of police and intelligence agencies and the responsibility of service providers. Typically, telecom operators and Internet service providers are requested to retain call records, Internet connection records, email logs and subscriber data for a period between some weeks to two years. They have to respond to authorized inquiries by law enforcement agencies without undue delay and report the retained data of a suspect. Strong data security and data protection requirements shall ensure that retained data can be accessed by authorized staff and for a legitimate purpose only.
For telecom operators and Internet service providers, data retention means additional investment in support systems that enable them to comply with these laws. Clearly, it is not sufficient to simply extend the retention period of billing records as the laws and regulations require additional data and demand strongest data protection. Depending on the size and type of operator there are millions to billions of records to be stored every day and operators must be prepared to respond to hundreds to thousands of inquiries per day.
Utimaco has addressed these new needs and challenges by a purpose-built solution for telecom data retention: the Utimaco DRS.