Carnivore Going to Review U. 

Carnivore Going to Review U. 
Posted by FoM on August 10, 2000 at 21:29:47 PT
By David A. Vise, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
The Justice Department yesterday unveiled its plan to review Carnivore--the FBI's new Internet wiretap system--by having a major university study the controversial program and providing the public the chance to comment. But several privacy groups immediately denounced the plan, saying it lacks credibility and independence and will not resolve the debate about whether Carnivore violates innocent people's privacy.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen R. Colgate, who is chairing the Carnivore review panel, set a target date of Dec. 1 for a report to Attorney General Janet Reno that includes the university review, public comment and a Justice Department panel's recommendations. At least nine universities will be contacted as possible candidates, Colgate said, and the study will be made public, with the exception of commercial proprietary software technology that the FBI has modified.Colgate said the process will help assure the public that Carnivore does not pose the dangers to privacy that old-fashioned telephone wiretaps once did. He said every keystroke by an FBI agent using Carnivore is tracked, providing an audit trail for any abuse of the system.The FBI has said that Carnivore is a valuable tool for tracking e-mail messages of suspected terrorists.Several privacy advocates argue that the Justice Department review is too narrowly based and that the only way to satisfy their concerns is for the FBI to release Carnivore's "source code" and operational details."This sounds to me like they are trying to select a rubber stamp," said David Banisar, senior fellow of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based advocacy group. "There is grave danger in the Justice Department getting to choose who is going to be the independent outside reviewer. . . . Justice has been just as supportive of this process as the FBI, so they are two peas in a pod here."Alan Davidson, staff counsel for the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology, said the review may be a first step but not a "sufficient step" to address the problems that Carnivore poses to Internet service providers, innocent people sending e-mail and others. He said a broader review is required, rather than an analysis of whether Carnivore performs according to its specifications."The Carnivore review the attorney general has promised will only focus on its technical aspects. It will not take into account the legality of the system," said Lisa Dean, vice president of the Free Congress Foundation, a District-based conservative think tank. "This exercise is only a dog and pony show."Reno doesn't see it that way. She intends to select the university herself, based on a panel's recommendations, and decide before the end of the year whether Carnivore unduly intrudes upon people's privacy or is a legitimate law enforcement tool. Justice Department officials already have contacted the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University and the University of California at San Diego as possible candidates to conduct the study, people familiar with the matter said."The university review team will have total access to any information they need to conduct their review," Reno said yesterday. "I think this will be an effective way to proceed." The school will be permitted to bring in outside experts to analyze Carnivore.Privacy advocates want Reno to suspend the use of Carnivore while it is being studied, a request she has rejected.In addition to Colgate, the Justice Department panel that will review the university's findings and submit a final report to Reno will be made up of the head of the FBI's laboratory division and three other department officials, including its chief privacy officer, the head of science and technology and a representative from the Criminal Division."We are not going to make everybody happy," Colgate said. "I just think that when the dust settles, people are going to be a lot more comfortable, and we will have been able to address the concerns."FBI officials said it would be wrong not to use Carnivore to target e-mail communications among terrorists and others involved in serious crimes. FBI spokesman John Collingwood said Carnivore has been used about 16 times in the past year, mostly in terrorism cases, and has built-in privacy safeguards."People need to remember this thing is being used infrequently and then for only the most serious of crimes," he said.Contact: letterstoed Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071Feedback: Friday , August 11, 2000 ; A23 2000 The Washington Post Company Related Articles:Your Papers, Please... Carnivore Under Seige Web Monitoring Debated Search - Carnivore:
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Comment #2 posted by freedom fighter on August 11, 2000 at 09:40:38 PT
Does one know how hungry
a carnivore can get?"People need to remember this thing is being used infrequently and then for only the most serious of crimes," he said.
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Comment #1 posted by Lehder on August 11, 2000 at 02:47:42 PT
university review of carnivore
Couldn't this review be better carried out by Senator Danforth?
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