Declan McCullagh at ZDNet reports on the FBI sucking down large amounts of internet traffic data and databasing it for later mining. This new method is even more indiscriminate and intrusive than the Carnivore system that stirred a backlash from privacy advocates years ago. The Carnivore system at least used a filter to try and limit data collection to interesting sources while the new system just takes everything on the pipe and archives it.
The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.
Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.
Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI’s Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000. It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what’s legally permissible.
Read the entire ZDNet article here.