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FBI Seeking Tools to Control and Censor Internet
FBI Confirms 'Magic Lantern' Project Exists. And Carnivore gets renamed DCS1000
By Elinor Mills Abreu
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) Dec 12, 2001 - An FBI spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that the U.S. government is working on a controversial Internet spying technology, code-named ``Magic Lantern'', which could be used to eavesdrop on computer communications by "suspected criminals."
``It is a workbench project'' that has not yet been deployed, said FBI spokesman Paul Bresson. ``We can't discuss it because it's under development.''
The FBI has already acknowledged that it uses software that records keystrokes typed into a computer to obtain passwords that can be used to read encrypted e-mail and other documents as part of criminal investigations.
Magic Lantern reportedly would allow the agency to plant a Trojan horse keystroke logger on a target's PC by sending a computer virus over the Internet, rather than require physical access to the computer as is now the case.
When asked if Magic Lantern would require a court order for the FBI to use it, as existing keystroke logger technology does, Bresson said: ``Like all technology projects or tools deployed by the FBI it would be used pursuant to the appropriate legal process.''
Major anti-virus vendors this week said they would not voluntarily cooperate with the FBI and said their products would continue to be updated to detect and prevent viruses, regardless of their origin, unless there was a legal order otherwise.
Doing so would anger customers and alienate non-U.S. customers and governments, they said, adding that there had been no requests by the FBI to ignore any viruses.
While the FBI requires a court order to install its technology, formerly called ``Carnivore,'' some service providers reportedly comply voluntarily, while court orders are relatively easy to get, civil libertarians argue.
``If we were at war the government would be able to require technology companies to cooperate, I believe, in a number of ways, including getting back door access to information and computer systems.''
DOJgov.net Addendum: Details are sketchy, but Magic Lantern reportedly works by masquerading as an innocent e-mail attachment that will insert FBI spyware inside your computer.
An Associated Press article reported that "at least one antivirus software company, McAfee Corp., was contacted by the FBI ... to ensure its software wouldn't inadvertently detect the bureau's snooping software and alert a suspect."
And let's not forget Carnivore, which has been renamed DCS1000 by the FBI.
CHANGING INTERNET ARCHITECTURE TO MONITOR AND CONTROL INFORMATION
WASHINGTON AP Release October 26, 2001 — Stewart Baker, an attorney at the Washington D.C.-based Steptoe & Johnson and a former general consul to National Security Agency, said the FBI has plans to change the architecture of the Internet and route traffic through central servers that it would be able to monitor e-mail more easily.
The plans go well beyond the Carnivore e-mail-sniffing system which allows the FBI to search for and extract specific e-mails off the Internet and generated so much controversy among privacy advocates and civil libertarians before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“From the work I’ve been doing, I’ve seen the efforts the FBI has been making and it suggests that they are going to unveil this in the next few months,” Baker said of the plan.
FBI Spokesman Paul Bresson said he was unaware of any development in the e-mail surveillance arena that would require major architectural changes in the Internet, but acknowledged that such a plan is possible.
Any new efforts would “would be in compliance with wiretapping statutes,” Bresson said. “We would be remiss if we didn’t.”
Such a move might have been unthinkable before Sept. 11.
Last year, privacy groups and civil libertarians howled in protest when the FBI trotted out plans to start using the Carnivore system. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington was ready to go full rounds with the government in court over Carnivore, and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to take another look at its constitutionality.
Now, though, the country is asking for more, not less, law enforcement on the Internet, and even those who once complained are coming around.
“I have two minds on this,” says Fred Peterson, vice president of government affairs for the Xybernaut Corporation, which manufactures computer technology for military and law enforcement. "The past six weeks have left little doubt in most peoples’ mind, he said, that new measures must be taken."
“I don’t think (FBI) motives are bad, but I do think they’re using people’s current state of mind – they’re using it to their advantage,” said Mikal Condon, staff attorney for EPIC.
The new FBI plans would give the agency a technical backdoor to the networks of Internet service providers’ like AOL and Earthlink and Web hosting companies, Baker said. It would concentrate Internet traffic in several central locations where e-mail and other web activity could be wiretapped [Editor's Note: and block "unfriendly" websites?].
Baker said he expects the agency will approach the Internet companies on an individual basis to ask for their help in the endeavor.
Sue Ashdown, executive director of the Washington-based American ISP Association, an Internet company trade group, said most Internet companies aren’t healthy enough financially to take on the government in court to protect their subscribers’ privacy rights. And no one, she says, wants to appear hostile to law enforcement right now.
“In the current patriotic climate, enterprises of all types will likely play along with the FBI in order to avoid a public relations disaster,” said Gene Riccoboni, an Internet attorney with the Stamford, Connecticut-based Grimes & Battersby.
The New Millennium Privacy Robbery: "Outside Review" of Carnivore (Now renamed DCS1000) by USDOJ FBI is Conducted by Insiders With Close Government Ties
Carnivore is the USDOJ FBI email snooping software being forced on companies supplying you with internet and email access. It gives the USDOJ the ability to view anything you write and send... in the interests of "saving the children" and "fighting drugs," of course.
Some House legislators suggested that the government should suspend use of the Internet surveillance tool that scoops up and reads your emails, but the Department of Justice refused.
The following are excerpts from an unencrypted government PDF file, supplying the masked names and backgrounds of the "impartial" experts who will be making decisions that affect your internet privacy. You can get the entire unencrypted PDF version (not the one censored and released by the USDOJ in September 2000) by right clicking on "Carnivore Coverup Scam" and left clicking on "save target." It can then be viewed by Adobe Acrobat.
It's no wonder that MIT refused to participate in this "impartial" review of Carnivore. They knew the fix was in... and your privacy was out. You will also note that the right of the US Department of Justice to batter your right to privacy is never in question. Only the technical aspects of this step towards growingly intrusive government is in question.
For the first time in human history, people all over the world have the ability to communicate freely. One would believe that America would stand as the bastion of defense for this golden era. But even in this great nation, our government bureaucracy is becoming increasingly arrogant and reactively paranoid. And with this growing tendency of viewing citizens as subjects of a bureaucratic realm... none of us are safe.
Homeland Security revives super-snoop
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