Prior to keeping digital copies of all SMS text messages as a matter of course, cellular service providers would occasionally print out and save hard copies of certain users’ texts.

On December 22, 2011, the DHS filed an application for a warrant to seize subscriber data and communications content from a T-Mobile subscriber under investigation for alleged human trafficking at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry from Canada to the United States.

In the warrant application, the DHS advised the issuing judge that “providers occasionally retain printouts from original storage of text messages for a particular subscriber’s account.” The relevant excerpt from the warrant application is embedded below.