Printer Friendly

Ask your ISP about Carnivore.

It has been revealed that the FBI has a system appropriately called "Carnivore" which the Bureau goes around installing in the networks of internet service providers (ISPs) under the rubric of a court order. "Carnivore" is a specialized computer developed by the FBI and equipped with software that "digests" all Internet traffic on an ISP system, and supposedly only provides the FBI with information for which they have a court order for. The only assurance we have for this, of course, is the word of the FBI -- which is notoriously unreliable. Source code for and access to Carnivore is reportedly denied to ISPs by the FBI. Hence, the FBI could play all kinds of games with the traffic going through your ISP -- even shut it down -- and the service provider could do nothing about it.

Given all that, concerned consumers should pose their ISPs some tough questions about Carnivore. Here are some ideas of what to ask about your ISP:

1. Has the FBI ever asked to install Carnivore (or EtherPeek, or any similar system)?

2. Has Carnivore (or a similar system) been installed on their facilities at any time?

3. Is Carnivore (or a similar system) still installed?

4. If yes to any of the above, what was the ISP's response? Did the ISP offer to obtain the information under court order so that Carnivore would not be necessary? Did the ISP retain counsel to fight such a broad search in the courts, and appeal it to the highest level?

5. If yes to 2 or 3, what steps did the ISP take to assure that the privacy of its users would be protected? Did the ISP gain access to Carnivore's source code to verify the FBI claims? Did the ISP check the information FBI obtained from the Carnivore machine, either remotely, or through physical collection of recordable media?

6. If the FBI or any other government agency attempts to or succeeds in gaining access to all user traffic information on the ISP, will the ISP inform its users? Under what circumstances would the ISP inform its users of unwarranted investigation or intrusion by government operatives?
COPYRIGHT 2000 Consumer Alert
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:software by the FBI to monitor Internet use
Publication:Consumer Comments
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 1, 2000
Previous Article:Taking It to the Streets.
Next Article:NCC Privacy Group Gears Up.

Related Articles
Getting caught in the Net.
The all-purpose web site.
The scoop on newsgroup: the Internet is more than the World Wide Web.
Accountants' online users' manual: lesson 3.
Using the Internet to promote your camp.
Public Internet/Private Lives.
Multi-Homing Provides As Many Internet Routes As You Have ISPs.
Online research strategies for the bookish lawyer: lawyers with more legal than technical know-how can still use the many computer tools available to...

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters