Carnivore goes to college
The FBI's Carnivore email surveillance system has come to hold public attention in
recent weeks. Some observers attribute interest to the software's colorful code name,
while others link it to a growing public concern with Internet privacy.
As the software gained prominence through a series of Washington hearings, the FBI
and the Department of Justice were put on the
defensive. With critics in pursuit, US Attorney General Janet Reno said last
Thursday that she and other law officers have agreed on a review process for
The Carnivore sniffer has been used by the FBI for about three years to monitor
criminal suspects' email in national security and criminal investigations. While the
FBI says its use is legal under US wiretap law, privacy advocates are questioning
whether laws that allow telephone lines to be used for detecting criminal activity
should be extended to the Internet.
Speaking at a regularly scheduled press conference, Reno said the government is
currently looking for a university with enough expertise to review the Carnivore
system. The university review team would have complete access to any information needed
to conduct its review.
When asked how long the process would take, Reno expressed uncertainty.
"I would hope we could do it quickly but, as you know, I sometimes get frustrated in
these hopes," Reno said.
Includes material from IDG News Service.