Justice releases RFP for Carnivore technical review

Justice releases RFP for Carnivore technical review

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

AUG. 25'The Justice Department this week released a request for proposals for an independent technical review of Carnivore, the FBI's controversial e-mail filtering application.

Justice plans to award a contract to a university team by Sept. 25. The RFP appeared today on the Justice Web site at www.usdoj.gov [see story at www.gcn.com/vol19_no24/news/2748-1.html].

The technical team will review Carnivore's design and function to ensure it works as intended. The review will be technical, not legal, according to Justice officials. Proposals are due Sept. 6.

The technical review will consider the following questions:

  • Will Carnivore provide investigators with all the information, and only the information, that it is designed to provide in accordance with a court order?

  • Will Carnivore introduce risks of operational or security impairment of an Internet service provider's network?

  • Does use of Carnivore introduce risks of unauthorized acquisition, intentional or unintentional, of electronic information by FBI personnel or other persons?

  • Are Carnivore's built-in audit and operational protections commensurate with the risks?


The RFP noted that Carnivore will have some commercial software and hardware elements such as the Microsoft Windows operating system. The scope of the review should include the overall configuration but should not entail 'exhaustive evaluation of [commercial] elements,' Justice said.

The department wants a draft report by Nov. 17. Justice chief information officer Stephen R. Colgate, the assistant attorney general for administration, will head the panel that reviews the draft. The panel will include Justice chief science and technology officer Donald Prosnitz; chief privacy officer Ed Dumont; Donald M. Kerr, assistant director of the FBI's Laboratory Division; and representatives of the Criminal Division.

Attorney General Janet Reno will receive the final report by Dec. 8.

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