FBI retires its Carnivore
Source: Kevin Poulsen - Posted by Joe Shakespeare   
Government FBI surveillance experts have put their once-controversial Carnivore Internet surveillance tool out to pasture, preferring instead to use commercial products to eavesdrop on network traffic, according to documents released Friday.

Two reports to Congress obtained by the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the FBI didn't use Carnivore, or its rebranded version "DCS-1000," at all during the 2002 and 2003 fiscal years. Instead, the bureau turned to unnamed commercially-available products to conduct Internet surveillance thirteen times in criminal investigations in that period.

Carnivore became a hot topic among civil liberations, some network operators and many lawmakers in 2000, when an ISP's legal challenge brought the surveillance tool's existence to light. One controversy revolved around the FBI's legally-murky use of the device to obtain e-mail headers and other information without a wiretap warrant -- an issue Congress resolved by explicitly legalizing the practice in the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act.

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