Several interesting points are made in the article, most of them basically saying that the FBI should not be allowed to use this system. The FBI still claims that Carnivore is "like a wiretap", but there are some differences, the two most major being
- Because of the nature of ISP's, this box has to process -all- email at an ISP in order to discover which email's to really investigate.
- Total control of this system is in the hands of the FBI. The news story mentioned that old telephone wiretaps were handled by the phone company, and given to the government. With Carnivore, total control is held by the FBI.
Another complaint is that because Carnivore scans (and logs?) email subject lines, it's already an invasion of privacy.
Read the article for technical details, it's interesting to see where the future of FBI wiretapping might be going. I've always been a big fan of applying traditional laws to digital (the less laws the better, IMHO), so I'm sort of happy to see the FBI's attempt to use traditional wiretapping processes and apply them to internet stuff. I do think that there might have been a little bit of a mistake made in the implementation of this Carnivore system.
Some parting thoughts about the system, from James X. Dempsey, senior staff counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology (whatever that is :^)=
He said that the main problem with Carnivore is its mystery.
Dempsey has a possible solution to the problem, though one that's probably unlikely - show everyone what it does and how it does it, allowing Internet providers to install the software themselves.
``The FBI should make this gizmo an open-source product,'' he said. ``Then the secret is gone.''