Research group to check out Carnivore

The Justice Department has found a research group to study its controversial

e-mail bugging system called Carnivore.

Steve Colgate, the department's top IT official, announced Sept. 26 that

IIT Research Institute, an independent, nonprofit center associated with

the Illinois Institute of Technology, won the Carnivore research contract

from among 11 bidding universities and testing labs.

Colgate said IITRI "has both he technical expertise and the dedication to

the project to provide the most thorough, independent and timely review."

Attorney General Janet Reno ordered the review when privacy advocates, including

members of Congress, expressed concern about how the system operates and

its potential for abuse.

IITRI will produce an interim report in November, followed a month later

by the final report. Both will be open to public comment, though Justice

is expected to first remove any data that could compromise the system.

Last month, some universities refused to bid on the study because of such

FBI restrictions. But Kerry Rowe, senior vice president of IITRI and manager

of the events technology group that will conduct the study, said he is not

worried.

"I don't anticipate there will be any major edits. I anticipate any reports

and data we produce will go forward," he said.

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