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Crimes Over Network
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Carnivore is the unimaginably poorly named FBI technology used in the late 1990s in order to execute trap and trace or pen registers on Internet networks. Eventually it occurred to the FBI that "Carnivore" might have been a poor selection of names, so it renamed the technology DCS-1000. The FBI describes Carnivore as follows:
Carnivore is, in essence, a special filtering tool that can gather the information authorized by court order, and only that information. It permits law enforcement, for example, to gather only the email addresses of those persons with whom the drug dealer is communicating, without allowing any human being, either from law enforcement or the service provider, to view private information outside of the scope of the court's order. In other words, Carnivore is a minimization tool that permits law enforcement strictly to comply with court orders, strongly to protect privacy, and effectively to enforce the law to protect the public interest. In addition, Carnivore creates an audit trail that demonstrates exactly what it is capturing.
[Gregory] Simply because the FBI has authority to use Carnivore, it does not mean that they will use the technology. They may be satisfied if the ISP gathers the information on its own. According to the FBI
If the service provider can comply with the order and provide us with only the addressing information required by the court order, it will do so and we will not employ Carnivore. If, however, the service provider is unwilling or unable to comply with the order, we simply cannot give a criminal a free pass. It is for that narrow set of circumstances that the FBI designed "Carnivore."
[Gregory] Increasingly, Carnivore capabilities are being required of ISPs and VoIP service providers pursuant to the FCC's CALEA authority.
To say that Carnivore has stirred a controversy is an understatement. Technology is an equal opportunity empowered. It may give the bad guys greater opportunity to be bad. It may give good guys better opportunity to protect. The problem is, as we all know from history, at times the good guys are the bad guys and the bad guys are the good guys. And one of the greatest ways of ensuring that the good guys stay the good guys is fundamental democratic principles of open government and accountability. Accountability over the odd guy in a van with ear phones clipped into the telephone pole is not the same as accountability over a black box which can consume all communication over a pipe, whether within the scope of the authority or not. The question is, "who watches over those who watch over us." [EPIC] Foundational democratic principles have not yet adjusted well to the power of the new technology to both make good efforts better and bad efforts worse.
- The FBI renamed Carnivore DCS-1000.
- Draft Report: Independent Technical Review of the Carnivore System Nov 17, 2000
- A Draft Report Entitled Independent Technical Review of the Carnivore System has been publicly released. Comments on the Report can be submitted by 12/1 to. or mailed to Carnivore Review Panel, U.S. Department of Justice, Room 1744, 950 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20530. IITRI expects to provide DOJ with a final version of its review on December 8. That panel expects to present its final report to the Attorney General on or about December 20. DOJ Notice page. Formal Comments can be viewed here.
- EPIC's Statement 11/21
- Jul 24 House Constitutional Subcommittee Hearing on FBI's Carnivore.
- < name="gregory">Statement of Kevin Di Gregory, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division, Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Committee on the Judiciary on "Carnivore" and the Fourth Amendment (July 24, 2000)
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