Carnivore Diagnostic Tool

The following information was obtained from the FBI's web

NOTE: Contrary to the false impression they try to create
here, the FBI retains full control over Carnivore once it is
implemented at an ISP. The ISP is pressured and forced into
cooperating with the FBI, and then has absolutely no control
over the device once it is in place. It is controlled only
by the FBI:

The Nation's communications networks are routinely used in
the commission of serious criminal activities, including
espionage. Organized crime groups and drug trafficking
organizations rely heavily upon telecommunications to plan
and execute their criminal activities.

The ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct lawful
electronic surveillance of the communications of its
criminal subjects represents one of the most important
capabilities for acquiring evidence to prevent serious
criminal behavior. Unlike evidence that can be subject to
being discredited or impeached through allegations of
misunderstanding or bias, electronic surveillance evidence
provides jurors an opportunity to determine factual issues
based upon a defendant's own words.

Under Title III, applications for interception require the
authorization of a high-level Department of Justice (DOJ)
official before the local United States Attorneys offices
can apply for such orders. Interception orders must be filed
with federal district court judges or before other courts of
competent jurisdiction. Hence, unlike typical search
warrants, federal magistrates are not authorized to approve
such applications and orders. Further, interception of
communications is limited to certain specified federal
felony offenses.

Applications for electronic surveillance must demonstrate
probable cause and state with particularity and specificity:
the offense(s) being committed, the telecommunications
facility or place from which the subject's communications
are to be intercepted, a description of the types of
conversations to be intercepted, and the identities of the
persons committing the offenses that are anticipated to be
intercepted. Thus, criminal electronic surveillance laws
focus on gathering hard evidence -- not intelligence.

Applications must indicate that other normal investigative
techniques will not work or are too dangerous, and must
include information concerning any prior electronic
surveillance regarding the subject or facility in question.
Court orders are limited to 30 days and interceptions must
terminate sooner if the objectives are obtained. Judges may
(and usually do) require periodic reports to the court
(typically every 7-10 days) advising it of the progress of
the interception effort. This circumstance thus assures
close and ongoing oversight of the electronic surveillance
by the United States Attorney's office handling the case.
Extensions of the order (consistent with requirements of the
initial application) are permitted, if justified, for up to
a period of 30 days.

Electronic surveillance has been extremely effective in
securing the conviction of more than 25,600 dangerous felons
over the past 13 years. In many cases there is no substitute
for electronic surveillance, as the evidence cannot be
obtained through other traditional investigative techniques.

In recent years, the FBI has encountered an increasing
number of criminal investigations in which the criminal
subjects use the Internet to communicate with each other or
to communicate with their victims. Because many Internet
Service Providers (ISP) lacked the ability to discriminate
communications to identify a particular subject's messages
to the exclusion of all others, the FBI designed and
developed a diagnostic tool, called Carnivore.

The Carnivore device provides the FBI with a "surgical"
ability to intercept and collect the communications which
are the subject of the lawful order while ignoring those
communications which they are not authorized to intercept.
This type of tool is necessary to meet the stringent
requirements of the federal wiretapping statutes.

The Carnivore device works much like commercial "sniffers"
and other network diagnostic tools used by ISPs every day,
except that it provides the FBI with a unique ability to
distinguish between communications which may be lawfully
intercepted and those which may not. For example, if a court
order provides for the lawful interception of one type of
communication (e.g., e-mail), but excludes all other
communications (e.g., online shopping) the Carnivore tool
can be configured to intercept only those e-mails being
transmitted either to or from the named subject.

Carnivore serves to limit the messages viewable by human
eyes to those which are strictly included within the court
order. ISP knowledge and assistance, as directed by court
order, is required to install the device.

The use of the Carnivore system by the FBI is subject to
intense oversight from internal FBI controls, the U. S.
Department of Justice (both at a Headquarters level and at a
U.S. Attorney's Office level), and by the Court. There are
significant penalties for misuse of the tool, including
exclusion of evidence, as well as criminal and civil
penalties. The system is not susceptible to abuse because it
requires expertise to install and operate, and such
operations are conducted, as required in the court orders,
with close cooperation with the ISPs.

The FBI is sharing information regarding Carnivore with
industry at this time to assist them in their efforts to
develop open standards for complying with wiretap
requirements. The FBI did so two weeks ago, at the request
of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
(CALEA) Implementation Section, at an industry standards
meeting (the Joint Experts Meeting) which was set up in
response to an FCC suggestion to develop standards for
Internet interception.

This is a matter of employing new technology to lawfully
obtain important information while providing enhanced
privacy protection.