Sen. Mark Warner Asks AT&T, Facebook, Twitter, Others to Preserve Insurrection Evidence

Sen. Mark Warner at an event in 2020.
Sen. Mark Warner (Image credit: Sen. Mark Warner via Flickr and a CC By 2.0 license)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), incoming Senate Intelligence Committee chairman and himself a former cell phone executive, has called on telecoms and social media to preserve evidence of the storming of the U.S Capitol that left 5 dead and legislators shaken.

In letters to AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon he asked them to "immediately" preserve content and metadata connected to the "insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol."

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Specifically, Warner asked the carriers to preserve "Short Message Service [SMS] communications and Multimedia Message communications created by or sent to subscribers during the period beginning at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 3, 2021, through 12:01 a.m. Jan. 7, 2021."

In letters to social media companies Apple, Facebook, Gab, Google, Parler, Signal, Telegram, and Twitter, he asked them, if they haven't already, to immediately preserve "any and all posts, communications, videos and other media, meta-data, cloud backups, and subscriber information, whether currently on your platform or in any backup or archived state, that may be associated with Wednesday’s insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol."

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On Friday (Jan. 8) the Justice Department said it was combing through social media for clues to the identities of the mob that attacked the capitol after President Donald Trump told them the election had been stolen and urged them not to accept the results.

"The United States Capitol is now a crime scene,” Warner wrote. “The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the events of that day, and trying to piece together what happened and the perpetrators involved. The prospect of litigation on behalf of the victims of the mayhem also is highly likely. Messaging data to and from your subscribers that may have participated in, or assisted, those engaged in this insurrection – and associated subscriber information – are critical evidence in helping to bring these rioters to justice.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.