Nowadays, authorities request telecommunication providers more and more to provide them with retained communication and subscriber data for legal purposes. These requests pose a significant burden on both telecommunication providers and lawful authorities handling the warrants.

In earlier days, this required quite an amount of effort as handling these requests was mostly manual work consisting of administration, data source queries, and processing and dispatching of the results.

Although internal automation of handling the warrants helps to reduce the amount of required effort, the transfer of the warrant from the authority to the provider and the transfer of the disclosed results back to the authority often still involves manual actions. To overcome this, the electronic transfer of warrants and their results is becoming more common.

Electronic transfer

ETSI has been involved for a long time in creating standards for electronic handover in general, including standards for lawful disclosure of retained data. These standards typically give room for national implementations to allow for country-specific needs. We see that the usage of these standards is growing, with different implementations in different countries.

For example, differentiations are seen in the transport mechanism for the transfer of warrants (e.g. email or different HTTP-based protocols) and for the transfer of the disclosed results (email, HTTP-based or File transfer protocols). The format of the query parameters in electronic lawful disclosure requests is often country-specific, and the format of the disclosed results differs between countries, but also multiple formats are used in a single country.

Currently, governments put more effort into implementing methods for electronic handover for lawful disclosure of retained data resulting in more efficient handling of the warrant requests for both lawful authorities and telecommunication providers.

LIMA Data Retention has a history of transferring electronic warrants and disclosed results based on the ETSI TS 102 657 standard and supports various country-specific implementations.

Warrant handling

Warrants received by telecommunication providers cannot be handled blindly by them. The operators have legal obligations to verify the correctness and validity of the warrants they receive. Whereas this would typically be an automatic step in a manual administration process; for electronic handover, however, this must become an explicit step in the approval process.

Our LIMA Data Retention solutions come with a workflow mechanism where the operator is guided through the required and necessary process steps like warrant approval and administration, data query, and delivery of the results, automating the process as much as possible.

Each step in the process is logged, so without the need for additional administration, the operator is provided with proof that the required steps have been completed. Also, the workflow mechanism keeps track of the lead time, which helps the operator to meet their SLA requirements.

All handling and administration tasks can be performed from a single user interface, and workflows are always attuned to the business process of the operator to achieve the best fit.


Implementing the complete electronic handover of lawful disclosure warrants and disclosed results is becoming a more common practice and will put more demands on lawful disclosure and data retention solutions. It reduces the chance of human errors, may speed up handling time, and alleviates lawful authorities and telecommunication operators of a part of the (manual) effort involved.

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