From the September 2000 Idaho Observer:

Move over Eschelon, here comes Carnivore

by The Idaho Observer

Acording to D. Ian Hopper of the Associated Press, the FBI's first admission that it had email intercept and analysis software named Carnivore was during April 6, 2000 testimony before Congress. Regardless of organized opposition to the use of such paranoid police state technology, the FBI has reportedly been using Carnivore since early this year.

Carnivore is installed at an Internet Service Provider (ISP) where it scans all incoming and outgoing email from a location that is an FBI target of a criminal investigation. The ISP has no control over which members of its customer base is being scanned by Carnivore. ISPs that have attempted to challenge FBI authority to use their business as an intelligence gathering mechanism have been defeated in court.

Robert Corn-Revere, an attorney from Hogan & Hartson law firm in Washington, D.C. that represented an ISP that resisted FBI attempts to install Carnivore, testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution that, “It was acknowledged [by the government] that Carnivore would enable remote access to the ISP's network and would be under the exclusive control of government agents.”

The ISP sued and lost because laws governing FBI authority to tap phone lines were stretched to cover email transmissions.

A spokeswoman for Representative Charles T. Canady (R-Fla.), who heads the House subcommittee, said the congressman had no comment on American Civil Liberties Union written statements with regard to the FBI's obviously overstepped authority.

Once Carnivore is installed, the FBI alone will determine which ISP customer will be the target of a probe. If used in conjunction with the infamous Eschelon software that identifies the email transmission of such red flag words as “bomb” and “Waco,” it would appear that almost anybody's email could potentially be monitored by the FBI.

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