FBI developing 'Enhanced Carnivore'
- By IDG News Service, Margret Johnston
- Oct 23, 2000
The FBI is still developing its Carnivore Internet surveillance tool, according
to FBI documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center through
a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
The FBI is creating "Enhanced Carnivore" under a contract that runs
through 01/that calls for the development of two new versions of the
system, David Sobel, general counsel at EPIC, said Oct. 19.
The documents, released to EPIC on Oct. 2, are the first of several
installments that EPIC expects to receive as a result of its FOIA lawsuit
over the controversial Carnivore system, whose legality is being investigated
by the Congress and questioned by privacy advocates.
The documents show that a possible feature of future versions will be
interception of voice-over-IP communications, a technology commonly used
to make phone calls using the Internet. However, much of the details about
the new features were redacted, Sobel said.
The documents also clarify Carnivore's capabilities beyond e-mail surveillance,
such as the system's ability to extract packets that contain information
about the Web sites an individual views and "presumably anything that is
being communicated," Sobel said.
Carnivore has been used by the FBI in at least 25 criminal and national
security investigations, according to the FBI, which maintains that the
system is legal.
EPIC filed the FOIA lawsuit after the FBI earlier this year revealed
the existence of Carnivore. The lawsuit seeks the public release of all
FBI records concerning Carnivore, including the source code, other technical
details and legal analyses addressing the potential privacy implications
of the technology. The source code of the Carnivore system was withheld
in the first batch of documents.
The FBI has said it has 3,000 pages of material related to Carnivore
in its files. It has agreed to disclose records to EPIC every 45 days. The
next installment is expected in the middle of next month.