What happens to a text message when you destroy a cell phone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Adair Bordon, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Adair Bordon

    Adair Bordon Guest

    According to this article today, the text messages sent from one phone
    to two other phones, were destroyed when the 3 phones were destroyed.

    Here's the quote:
    "Phones that could link damning texts and the alleged rape of a female
    student by former Vanderbilt football players Brandon Vandenburg and
    Cory Batey were destroyed, according to testimony."

    Here's the article:

    But I don't understand how destroying the phones gets rid of the text.

    Doesn't the phone company keep a "copy" of the text message on
    a server somewhere?

    Can't that copy be retrieved (especially for a legal trial)?
    Adair Bordon, Jan 28, 2015
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  2. Adair Bordon

    Guest Guest

    it doesn't.
    some do, for varying amounts of time.

    aso, depending on how severely the original phone was destroyed (and if
    it's been recovered), it may be possible to extract the texts and other
    data (phone call history, etc.) from the chips. if it was pulverized
    into powder, then not so much.
    sure can.
    Guest, Jan 28, 2015
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  3. Adair Bordon

    John Hasler Guest

    Why would they do that? They keep some metadata for internal purposes
    such as billing but the content is of no use to them (and could be a
    liability). It's Europe that has "data retention" laws.
    John Hasler, Jan 28, 2015
  4. Adair Bordon

    J.O. Aho Guest

    J.O. Aho, Jan 28, 2015
  5. Why would they? They may keep a copy until it is delivered but sure
    better not (unless the law comes up with a warrent) keep them otherwise.
    A) it would take up a HUGE amount of space, and B) It really would be an
    invasion of privacy.
    William Unruh, Jan 28, 2015
  6. Adair Bordon

    Adair Bordon Guest

    nospam wrote, on Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:26:43 -0500:
    Is the sent/received text stored in the primary flash memory?
    If so, can't the cell phone owner just delete it?

    I understand that deleted data can be recovered, at least on
    Windows computers, so, I wonder if there is also a repeated
    "wipe" utility for cell phone memory (similar to what PGP and
    other secure repetitive wipes do for computer hard drives)?
    Adair Bordon, Jan 28, 2015
  7. Adair Bordon

    Adair Bordon Guest

    J.O. Aho wrote, on Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:39:32 +0100:
    On Windows, there have been secure wipes for a long time.

    They wipe the disk/memory many times (as many times as you like).
    Just wiping once, with random characters, is a pretty good start, but,
    there are some who say mathematically you can't wipe enough, but, let's
    not go into that (expensive and theoretical) avenue.

    Assuming wiping works, aren't there utilities that will 'wipe' a cell
    phone's memory? If not, they should exist.
    Adair Bordon, Jan 28, 2015
  8. Adair Bordon

    Adair Bordon Guest

    John Hasler wrote, on Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:27:12 -0600:
    I'm a bit confused, as I read the answers prior to this.

    Everyone seems to say that the phone company keeps the metadata.
    So, in the case of rape, the lawyers know that messages were sent, and when.
    They might even know size and type.

    But, I guess, what folks are saying is that the CONTENT (the actual picture,
    text, or video), is not saved anywhere but on the phone memory itself?
    Adair Bordon, Jan 28, 2015
  9. While true for older ( pre 1995) disks, modern disks a single wipe even
    with 0 should be enough. magnetic media ( which of course are NOT used
    on cell phones) are designed to squeeze as much storage out as possible,
    and any redundancey ( a zero written over a zero looks different from a
    zero written over a 1) is a lost opportunity to squeeze more data onto
    the medium.
    f course for flash, it is little capacitors and transistors, and a
    single wipe really should be sufficient.
    William Unruh, Jan 28, 2015
  10. Adair Bordon

    Rod Speed Guest

    Unlikely that any phone company keeps a copy of all the texts
    anyone ever sends.

    Forget the detail now, but I think during the Pistorius trial
    that the texts which were used as evidence of what those
    to were doing was obtained from the phones themselves
    rather than the phone companys.
    Seems a tad unlikely that any phone
    company keeps all texts for years etc.
    Rod Speed, Jan 28, 2015
  11. Adair Bordon

    Guest Guest

    phones aren't windows (even though some run windows phone), and that's
    for a hard drive, which isn't relevant for phones and flash.
    if there's reason to pursue it, they can recover data after a secure
    wipe. most of the time, there isn't.
    they do, but most people don't do that. thugs are generally stupid and
    leave a trail.
    Guest, Jan 28, 2015
  12. Adair Bordon

    Guest Guest

    they can, but that does not necessarily rewrite the bits. the message
    is still there until something *else* uses that sector of the memory.
    there are, but since it's flash there is no guarantee that anything is
    erased due to wear leveling and it may be possible to recover the
    messages from the phone company anyway.

    are you planning on murdering someone?
    Guest, Jan 28, 2015
  13. Adair Bordon

    Guest Guest

    text messages are small and it's not an invasion of privacy since you
    sent it through their servers in the first place.

    who keeps what and for how long:
    Guest, Jan 28, 2015
  14. Adair Bordon

    Adair Bordon Guest

    William Unruh wrote, on Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:00:31 +0000:
    Thanks for explaining that, as I hadn't realized that a single
    wipe would suffice (for most of us).

    Does a cell phone "delete" of the SMS/MMS wipe the transistors?
    If not, how does one do the delete?

    Is there software that will delete SMS/MMS messages?
    Adair Bordon, Jan 28, 2015
  15. Adair Bordon

    Rod Speed Guest

    Yes, that obviously has to be kept so they can bill you.

    And most carriers can show you a list of the texts you have sent and calls
    made too.
    Yes with the type, not necessarily with the size tho.
    Its obviously not feasible to keep all that stuff for years.

    And isn't legal in some jurisdictions anyway.
    Rod Speed, Jan 28, 2015
  16. Adair Bordon

    Adair Bordon Guest

    nospam wrote, on Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:09:00 -0500:

    More so if I can get away with it simply by "wiping" my text messages.
    Adair Bordon, Jan 28, 2015
  17. Adair Bordon

    Guest Guest

    pulverize the phone into dust.
    are you planning on murdering someone? why do you even care? nobody
    wants to read your text messages unless you're involved in a criminal
    investigation, in which case you have far bigger problems.

    don't send unencrypted text messages if you are worried about someone
    other than the intended recipient reading them.
    Guest, Jan 28, 2015
  18. Adair Bordon

    Rod Speed Guest

    Those clearly are windows.
    Not anymore, plenty are flash now.
    Rod Speed, Jan 28, 2015
  19. Adair Bordon

    DevilsPGD Guest

    With modern mobile phone implementations it's completely unnecessary as
    all data at rest is stored encrypted, so it's sufficient to wipe the
    encryption keys.
    DevilsPGD, Jan 28, 2015
  20. Adair Bordon

    Adair Bordon Guest

    Rod Speed wrote, on Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:06:02 +1100:
    This brings up a related question.

    I own all the cell phones in my household (kids + wife)
    and I pay the T-Mobile bill.

    Can I log into a web site and "see" the text messages?
    If not, can I see the meta data at least?
    For how long?

    Is it different between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon?
    Adair Bordon, Jan 28, 2015
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