FBI forks over first Carnivore documents

A privacy group anxious to sink its teeth into the FBI's Carnivore program was disappointed Monday after the agency withheld large portions of the documents describing the FBI Internet monitoring program.

Large chunks of material had been blacked out, and Carnivore's source code was missing, said officials at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C.

EPIC filed a lawsuit this summer against the FBI for not turning over documents related to the system. Carnivore, used for counterterrorism purposes, sniffs through e-mail flowing through Internet service providers. Consequently, it has created a furor among privacy groups.

The documents EPIC did receive showed that the Carnivore system has been used to intercept voice-over-IP data, according to the documents, which also detail performance and recovery incidents.

EPIC vowed to litigate further to get the FBI to turn over missing documents and Carnivore source code. The group claims that about 200 pages were kept entirely out of the material and that twice that number of pages had been redacted.

EPIC receieved this first round of Carnivore material after the FBI was forced by a federal judge to comply with the group's Freedom of Information Act request.

FBI officials told U.S. District Judge James Robertson that the agency had 3,000 pages of material that would fall under the EPIC request, but FBI officials provided no timeline for handing over that material, according to EPIC.

Copyright 2000 InfoWorld, International Data Group Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by IDG News Service.

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