Justice shops for Carnivore review

Executive summary of the Carnivore solicitation

The Justice Department has officially begun shopping for a university to

conduct an independent technical review of Carnivore, the e-mail bugging

system.

The request for proposals was posted on the department's World Wide

Web site Aug. 23, and Attorney General Janet Reno said proposals are due

Sept. 6.

"I plan to have a final decision on a university by Sept. 15," Reno

said during a Justice Department press conference Aug. 24. "We are committed

to having an independent technical review complete by Dec. 1."

Reno said the process will ensure a level playing field among universities

with an interest in conducting the review.

Since the public learned of Carnivore in early July, members of Congress,

privacy advocates and civil liberties organizations have expressed serious

concerns over its use and potential for abuse.

The request for proposals notes some of the concerns, including that

the system could provide investigators with more information than legally

allowed by a court order or be used for unlawful invasions of privacy.

FBI officials say the system typically is used to capture only very

specific e-mails and targets only the "to" and "from" lines of an e-mail

message. But officials say the bureau can and has used the system to capture

entire e-mail messages.

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