Essay on Internet Privacy - Carnivore May Threaten Privacy

Essay on Internet Privacy - Carnivore May Threaten Privacy

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Carnivore May Threaten Internet Privacy

   Abstract: In 1999 the FBI launched a new tool, Carnivore, to help it conduct Internet surveillance on criminal suspects. The systems, which are installed directly on Internet Service Providers' networks, process and filter all data communication passing through. This is alarming privacy advocates.


The FBI now has the ability to monitor email through a network snooping scheme known as "Carnivore"i. Carnivore may be used as a surveillance mechanism in investigations by intercepting packets of data sent over the Internet. These data packets include private email sent back and forth between unsuspecting criminals, but may also include the regular law abiding citizen. Privacy advocates have not hesitated to publicly express their fear that Carnivore will give the FBI unlimited, unrestricted access to everyone's emailii. As we speak, Internet wiretapping is unchecked by the law, as it is not prohibited or allowed specifically.


Carnivore functions as an Internet wiretap, typically installed directly on the networks of Internet providers.  The system was dubbed Carnivore for its ability to get to "the meat" of what would otherwise be an enormous quantity of data. Like previous wiretap methods, it intercepts all digital communications and records sent to or from the target of an investigation.  Carnivore's specialty is that it can filter out irrelevant data such as online banking and web surfing, leaving only specific kinds of communications like e-mails. Furthermore, Carnivore only scans the identifying addresses in the 'to' and 'from' fields, not the entire content of electronics messages. The FBI likens it to looking at the front of an envelope.



... middle of paper ...

...politics/0,1283,37470,00.html 3:00 a.m. Jul. 12, 2000 PDT


vii "ACLU Needs 'Carnivore' Fix" by Chris Oakes Hotwired Magazine,1283,37470,00.html 3:00 a.m. Jul. 12, 2000 PDT

viii "ACLU Needs 'Carnivore' Fix" by Chris Oakes Hotwired Magazine,1283,37470,00.html 3:00 a.m. Jul. 12, 2000 PDT

ix "Telecoms miffed at FBI Meddling" by Declan McCullogh Hotwired Magazine,1283,37448,00.html 3:00 a.m. Jul. 8, 2000 PDT

x "ACLU Needs 'Carnivore' Fix" by Chris Oakes Hotwired Magazine,1283,37470,00.html 3:00 a.m. Jul. 12, 2000 PDT

xi "FBI system covertly searches e-mail" By Neil King Jr. and Ted Bridis, WSJ Interactive Edition. July 11, 2000 6:01 AM PT

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