Your Papers, Please... Carnivore Under Seige 

  Your Papers, Please... Carnivore Under Seige 

Posted by FoM on July 24, 2000 at 06:03:23 PT
By Patrick Poole  
Source: WorldNetDaily 

Responding to a deluge of e-mails and phone calls from angry constituents, a congressional hearing will be convened later today on a controversial FBI e-mail surveillance system -- Carnivore -- which provides law enforcement officials vast new capabilities to plug into the networks of an Internet service provider and scan incoming and outgoing messages. 
When the system first came to light after a July 10 article in the Wall Street Journal, it immediately came under attack by civil liberty and privacy advocates. They claim Carnivore can also tap directly into ISP systems to monitor instant-messaging systems in real time, chronicle website visits and record Internet relay chat sessions. Today's hearing is being held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. The hearings were requested by the American Civil Liberties Union in a July 11 letter to the subcommittee's leadership, which questioned the legality of the system."We certainly don't believe that it is clear that law enforcement can install a super trap and trace device with access to such information for all of an ISP's subscribers," the ACLU letter said. Committee members are hoping the hearing will help clarify whether existing laws dealing with wiretaps adequately protect citizens' Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure. "This hearing will let us take a look at the balance between law enforcement needs and constitutional privacy rights, and examine the extent to which current statutes allow the federal government to use devices such as Carnivore to gather electronic communications," said Rep. Charles Canady, R-Florida, the subcommittee's chairman."Concerns have been raised about the FBI's Carnivore program, and we have an obligation to examine the matter carefully. In this high-tech age, we must continually check to insure that Fourth Amendment rights are protected, particularly as Internet advances provide greater tools for law enforcement," he said. Canady is not the only member of Congress to express reservations about the FBI's Carnivore system. Last week, Rep. Dick Armey, R-Texas, the House majority leader, told the Washington Post that "nobody can dispute the fact that this is not legal ... within the context of any current wiretap law." Armey took aim at the Clinton administration earlier this month in a written statement calling on Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh to stop using Carnivore until the Fourth Amendment concerns had been addressed."This administration doesn't have the best record on personal privacy. ... At a time when there is a lot of talk about concerns for Internet privacy, the Clinton-Gore administration continues to push Big Brother proposals that promote government cybersnooping," Armey said. "The Federal government has the power and the authority to collect and maintain vast amounts of private personal information. This administration continues to demonstrate a cavalier attitude with that responsibility." This is not the first time Armey has taken the Clinton administration on regarding computer privacy. He led a congressional coalition last year opposing the Federal Intrusion Detection Network, or FIDNET, a system that would have given the FBI and other federal agencies the ability to track and monitor telecommunications, banking and the computer networks of other industries. Carnivore system was unveiled a month ago to a select group of telecommunications industry experts to demonstrate the FBI's ability to conduct pen-register wiretap capability at the request of the Federal Communications Commission. After the meeting, several attendees contacted members of the media expressing their concern with the privacy issues surrounding the use of the system and potential liabilities by Internet Service Providers who are required to install the surveillance systems. Using an off-the-shelf personal computer installed into an ISP's servers, Carnivore operates on a "packet-sniffer" system that can analyze large chunks of electronic data as they travel to and from the Internet. But since the Windows 2000-based Carnivore system operates independently of the rest of the ISP communications systems, an ISP cannot monitor the FBI's surveillance activities to ensure that they are in compliance with court orders. Several ISPs have already expressed their reservations. The Wall Street Journal reported on July 14 that one of the largest ISPs in the country, Earthlink, announced it would refuse future FBI requests to install the Carnivore device on its network, saying that the equipment had previously caused service disruptions for its customers. this year, Earthlink enlisted the help of prominent privacy attorney Robert Corn-Revere to file a lawsuit to prevent the ISP from installing Carnivore on its system. A federal magistrate ruled against the ISP, requiring it to install the equipment to its Internet network. The Internet Alliance, an ISP trade group that numbers Earthlink and Internet giant America Online among its members, has also criticized Carnivore for the far-reaching surveillance capabilities of the system., law enforcement is required to "minimize" its interception on non-incriminating communications of a target of a wiretap order. But civil liberties advocates say that Carnivore does exactly the opposite by sweeping in email traffic from innocent Internet users as well as the targeted suspects. In light of Carnivore's questionable legal authority, White House Chief of Staff John Podesta announced last week in a speech at the National Press Club that the Clinton administration intended to push for revisions to the nation's wiretapping laws to extend the powers of law enforcement to conduct online surveillance, while promising increased legal protections for electronic communications. advance of today's congressional hearings, FBI lobbyists began visiting Capitol Hill in recent weeks to meet with members of Congress and their aides to assure them that the system is legal and that law enforcement officials will not abuse the system. The FBI also hosted closed-door Carnivore demonstrations to show that the system can home in on a particular account, while leaving the communications of other users of the same account, such as spouses or children, untouched by the system. The FBI has also responded to public criticism of the system's surveillance abilities by establishing a Web page devoted to explaining the Carnivore system, stating that the system was necessary for investigations into espionage, crime networks and drug trafficking."The Carnivore device provides the FBI with a 'surgical' ability to intercept and collect the communications which are the subject of the lawful order while ignoring those communications which they are not authorized to intercept. This type of tool is necessary to meet the stringent requirements of the federal wiretapping statutes," the FBI Carnivore website states. According to the FBI website, use of the Carnivore system will protect, not endanger, citizens' privacy rights: "This is a matter of employing new technology to lawfully obtain important information while providing enhanced privacy protection." Representatives from the FBI will be testifying at today's congressional hearing, as will representatives from the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and officials from the ISP industry. live audio feed of today's hearing is available on the House Judiciary Committee's website beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern.'s note: Readers who would like to express their views or ask a question of the White House, their congressional representatives or even their local media -- about this or any other issue -- may use WorldNetDaily's state-of-the-art Legislative Action Center. To view this item online, visit: To read more articles like this one, visit E-Mail The Editor: letters Published: Monday, July 24, 2000© 2000, Inc.Related Articles: FBI Web Monitoring Debated for IE's Cookie Catcher,1367,37703,00.htmlGiving Carnivore a Proper Diet,1283,37728,00.html CannabisNews Articles On Carnivore: 

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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 25, 2000 at 18:18:05 PT
FBI Gives a Little on Carnivore 
FBI Gives a Little on Carnivore By Declan McCullagh 9:35 a.m. Jul. 25, 2000 PDT  Washington -- The FBI says it will conduct a privacy audit of a controversial surveillance system, but the agency won't release key information about how Carnivore works. On Monday, FBI officials told a congressional panel that they hope to assuage the fears of civil libertarians through "an independent verification and validation" of the Carnivore eavesdropping system. Click the link to read the complete article.,1283,37765,00.html
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 24, 2000 at 22:06:45 PT

U.S.: Carnivore Fears Overblown 

U.S.: Carnivore Fears Overblown Reuters 12:55 p.m. Jul. 24, 2000 PDT  Washington -- U.S. officials Monday sought to calm concerns about a new FBI Internet-wiretapping system called Carnivore, describing it as a "small-scale device" and insisting that fears of broad online surveillance were overblown. Carnivore allows U.S. law enforcement agencies to find and follow the e-mail of a criminal suspect among the flood of other data passing through an Internet service provider. Click the link to read the complete article.,1283,37744,00.html
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on July 24, 2000 at 07:02:32 PT


What a cheap circus congress is. I'm sorry,but I just cant get excited,or encouraged by this "after the fact",indignation,and fake suprize of certain members of congress on this item. The fbi may attend some hearings,and try to justify their actions,,,but the bottom line is that the fbi is basically accountable to no one,and is actually overseen by a select few,who can refuse to give any information concerning their activities in the interest of "national security"..... I mean let's be real here.Does anyone seriously believe,that after some longwinded congressional investagation,the fbi was told to stop using this intrusive snooping,,that they will say;"OK...sorry,I guess we went overboard.We wont do it any more";...???...No Way....that's like the czar saying he will never say anything that is not a fact. I think this is mainly the same congressional theatrics,being spread by the lap-dog media,,to calm the angry commoners,and make it appear that there is some control over this........... I dont know about you,but I dont really trust the fbi,,,and I dont really trust congress.......dddd 
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