WASHINGTON D.C. —  Today, TechFreedom joined a coalition of consumer rights, human rights and civil liberties organizations in calling on the Federal Communications Commission to repeal a rule requiring phone companies to retain telephone call records for 18 months. In August 2015, TechFreedom signed a similar petition urging the FCC to repeal an outdated regulation that exposes consumers to privacy risks, stifles innovation and reduces market competition.

The letter, led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, concludes:

The data retention rule no longer serves a useful purpose.  Carriers have all but abandoned per-call billing in favor of bundled and flat-rate service plans. The rule’s reliance on an outdated billing model increases costs, stifles innovation, and inhibits market competition by preventing carriers from competing on privacy.

The FCC’s data retention mandate is woefully outdated,” said Ashkhen Kazaryan, Legal Fellow at TechFreedom. “This regulation has eliminated any incentive for telecom companies to retain data they don’t need and that they struggle to keep secure — even though it would be cheaper for the carriers and preferable for users. Repealing this rule would allow carriers to compete on privacy and data security.”

Mandating that carriers keep sensitive, unnecessary information puts customers’ privacy at risk,” said Kazaryan. “Carriers are obliged to hold sensitive detailed information about the communications of everyday Americans. Collecting all telephone records ‘just in case’ law enforcement needs them makes customer data vulnerable to the kind of massive security breaches we’ve seen in government systems.”


We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See our other work on privacy, including:

  • Our blog post on a recent bill to protect data privacy at the border
  • Our statement on the need for email privacy reform