FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

FBI Ditches Carnivore

The FBI has quietly abandoned its custom-designed Internet surveillance technology, called DCS-1000 or better known as "Carnivore," according to a report submitted recently to Congress.

The existence of the controversial technology, designed to intercept and monitor Internet traffic, was revealed in 1998, though the agency reportedly used it only a handful of times, even after 9/11. The FBI says it is switching to commercial monitoring technology, which it says works better at a lower cost. It should be noted that at the time Carnivore was developed, equivalent commercial products did not exist.

The FBI did not reveal how much it spent developing Carnivore, but estimates range from $6 million to $15 million. This revelation comes on the heels of a report that the agency would have to completely revamp its $170 million computer system upgrade that would allow agents to manage cases electronically.

In related news, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to determine whether law enforecement agencies are required to obtain a search warrant to monitor a suspect's Internet traffic under the USA PATRIOT Act.

Source: AP (Excite)