Independent study supports FBI defense of Carnivore

Independent study supports FBI defense of Carnivore

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

NOV. 22'An independent study of Carnivore, the FBI's Internet wiretapping system, maintains the software doesn't overreach its intended use.

Prepared by the Illinois Institute of Technology's research center at Chicago-Kent College of Law, the report concludes that, when examining IP packets, Carnivore records only those packets that meet specific, preset parameters.

FBI agents are required to prove the need to use Carnivore when standard surveillance methods have been ineffective, the report notes. Search warrants are required before its use. Questions about the constitutionality of Carnivore remain, however, because those issues were not addressed in the study [see www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/2489-1.html].

Carnivore is made up of a one-way tap into an Ethernet data stream, two computers'one to filter and collect data and one to control the collection and examine the data'and a telephone link to the collection computer, according to the report. The collection computer is installed without a keyboard or monitor. PCAnywhere from Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., controls the collection computer via the phone link.

Carnivore software is loaded onto the collection computer, while Paketeer and CoolMiner'components of the DragonWare Suite developed by the bureau's Internet technology team at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.'are loaded onto the control computer. All computers are equipped with Iomega Jaz drives for removable data storage.

The collection computer collects IP packets based on preset criteria, the report said. Paketeer and CoolMiner are used to reconstruct the online actions of the investigation's quarry. The report noted that during the study Carnivore recorded only target packets.

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