Re: Carnivore

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Fri Jul 21 2000 - 14:44:10 MDT

Sounds simple enough, it's a network sniffer that hackers have used on
promiscuous interfaces for years.

PGP or other e-mail encryption programs exist. Any encryption program without
backdoor would generate e-mail completely opaque to any sniffer besides mail
destination header information. There exist multiple ways to divert mail thus
assigning it false or intermediary destination headers except for the very last
hop to the recipient.

Basically, Carnivore is ineffective against any sophisiticated user that is
trying to cover their tracks, and is only effective agaisnt all the innocents.
It's equivalent to a publicized traffic stop of every car on each interstate
through a town, while not stopping any cars that take the criminal expressway.

>From what I understand the "Carnivore" is a "box" (PC) in a "cage" (locked case)
with a "NIC" (network interface card) that plugs into the ISP's internal LAN
which would have to be possibly be modified to make its network promiscuous.
Thus that Carnivore would scan every single packet passing over that network,
and all network activity of every user including every HTTP and e-mail

One consideration is that you can build one yourself for the price of a "box"
and a "NIC". There are plentiful free scanner and text search programs. I
wonder how much the government pays for one of these things.

I still am wondering where is the precedent that all government employees are
employess of the people, so that any person has the right to view government
employees' e-mail as their employer.

Gina Miller wrote:

> I saw on the boob tube tonight an MSNBC program that aired an FBI man and a
> reporter discussing a new software program called 'Carnivore' (meaning it
> can get to the meat) that the FBI plans to activate.
> If this is to take effect, the software is distributed to the server on
> which our email is located, then it with a general eye scans all the email
> of every client (from who, to who, subject line) , it can also be told to
> search for specific words within the body of emails, and hunt them out. The
> claim is, that it is to locate emails about hacking and other criminal
> activity. I think there would be some trickle down effect for corporate
> interest as well. Survey results exposed on the show, explains that
> corporations do a high level of saving 'at work emails' and 'employee's
> computer data' as it is. My problem with this digital wiretap, is that it
> will be 'spying' on innocent people as well and infringing on their privacy,
> and the context at which diction is used, may be misconstrued.
> After the program aired, I searched the MSNBC site on the net and found a
> url
> Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
> Nanotechnology Industries
> Personal:
> "Nanotechnology: Solutions for the future."

Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:

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