`Carnivore’ sparks privacy concerns

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`Carnivore' sparks privacy concerns

Privacy advocates are expressing concerns about a new computer system used by the FBI to covertly search email.

Dubbed Carnivore because it can “get to the meat” of what otherwise would be an enormous amont of data, the system – which must be hooked directly to an Internet service providers’ computer network – is capable of scanning millions of messages a second.

While critics charge that the system is open to abuse, federal investigators defend it as more precise than Internet wiretap methods used in the past, and say that so far Carnivore has been used in fewer than 100 criminal cases since its launch early last year.

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