Carnivore: Reno Delays Carnivore Study Pick

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Last Updated By Bill's Bible Basics :
February 16, 2017

By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN Associated Press Writer

August 23, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Attorney General Janet Reno has postponed until Sept. 15 her selection of a university to analyze the FBI's "Carnivore" e-mail surveillance system to give the many schools that have volunteered an equal shot at the work.

Reno told her weekly news conference Wednesday that the department would post on its website at 5 p.m. Thursday "a statement of work and specific expectations for the review."

She launched the review after members of Congress and civil liberties groups objected to the computerized system.

The Carnivore system has software that scans and captures "packets," the standard unit of Internet traffic, as they travel through an internet service provider's network. The FBI installs a Carnivore unit at a provider's network station and configures it to capture only e-mail to or from someone under investigation.

FBI officials say court orders limit which e-mails they can see.

But privacy advocates say only the FBI knows what Carnivore can do, and Internet providers are not allowed access to the system. They ask why the FBI retains remote control of Carnivore equipment and doesn't just give it to Internet providers so they can comply with court orders.

Reno said the review standards will be posted for 10 business days, followed by a two-day selection period in which the department's internal Carnivore review team will decide which university to recommend to Reno.

"This will ensure that all the universities what want to be considered will be able to apply based on the same standards, and everyone, including privacy and industry experts, will understand exactly what we are expecting from the review process," Reno said.

Civil liberties groups had argued that Reno should just make Carnivore's computer source code public for the widest possible analysis of its capabilities. Justice officials said many schools expressed interest, and some offered to conduct the review for free.

Reno said she would pick a school by Sept. 15. "We are committed to having an independent technical review complete by Dec. 1," Reno said.

The university's technical review will be analyzed by the internal Justice review team which will forward its recommendations to Reno after obtaining public comment on the university's technical review. Earlier, Assistant Attorney General Steve Colgate, head of the internal team, had spoken of having that process finished with recommendations to Reno by Dec. 1.

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