Police want phone firms to keep archiving texts

Police are seeking a law change to force cellphone companies to continue archiving text messages because they fear they are losing a vital crime-fighting tool. Kiwis send 640 million texts a month.

The messages, accessed only with a search warrant, can reveal whom criminals meet, their movements, motives, even confessions. But Vodafone has stopped archiving texts and Telecom says it will follow suit. Police Association president Greg O'Connor said the companies had a social duty to store cellphone records.

Police Minister Annette King said she was urging police to seek a solution with phone companies before the Government would look at law changes.

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