Carnivore: Justice Department Releases Guidelines for Carnivore Review

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


August 25, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department Thursday released guidelines for an independent review of its controversial Carnivore e-mail surveillance program to ensure that the program works as intended.

The review was prompted by concerns that the program could infringe on Internet privacy or slow down traffic on the Web. Carnivore allows law enforcement agents to gather e-mail messages of criminal suspects as they pass through the gates of an Internet service provider. Like a telephone wiretap, it requires a court order to be used.

In its guidelines for prospective bidders, the Justice Department said cost would be a factor, but technical capability of the candidates would be most important. The review is expected to be conducted by academic experts at a U.S. university.

The Justice Department emphasized that it wanted the review to remain technical in nature and independent of political influence.

"The primary goal of this procurement is to select an offerer that is capable of delivering an independent, objective, impartial and thorough technical review of the Carnivore system within the timeframes specified," the guidelines said.

"The Department seeks to avoid any appearance of improper influence by the Department, including the FBI, or by other law enforcement or governmental interests," it added.

Proposals are due on Sept. 6, the Department said, and the contract will be awarded on Sept. 25. The first draft of the review will be due on Nov. 17, followed by a period for public comment. The final report will be issued on Dec. 8.

Attorney General Janet Reno has said that the contractors would have total access to any information they need to conduct their review.

The FBI is also collecting material to turn over to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public-interest group, after EPIC sought access to the data under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Justice Department contends that Carnivore is needed to keep tabs on criminals who communicate online. But EPIC, the American Civil Liberties Union and some members of Congress are worried that it may violate the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

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