Carnivore Review Team Exposed!

Call it the Curse of Carnivore.

It was bad enough when word leaked out this summer that the FBI’s electronic eavesdropping system went by the unfortunate, if eerily accurate, name of Carnivore.

Call it the Curse of Carnivore.

It was bad enough when word leaked out this summer that the FBI’s electronic eavesdropping system went by the unfortunate, if eerily accurate, name of Carnivore.

The Feds took another blow when researchers at MIT and other prestigious institutions refused to undertake a review, likening the probe to a public relations whitewash.

Now it turns out that an embarrassing oversight by the Justice Department has revealed confidential information about the team of researchers hired to conduct the review.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department placed the 51-page PDF file online, with project information such as names, phone numbers, and government security clearances erased with thick black bars.

But it turns out that the information wasn’t removed after all. Anyone with Adobe-supplied software — or a text editor and a little bit of time — can view the unaltered document.

It’s uncertain whether the irony of public disclosure of personal information, by the very people who are in the midst of claiming they can be trusted to protect it, was lost on Justice Department officials, because they declined to comment on Wednesday.

Cryptome.org, operated by online archivist John Young, placed the unaltered version of the document online on Wednesday.

The previously hidden information reveals that the members of the review team at the IIT Research Institute, affiliated with the Illinois Institute of Technology, enjoy a close relationship with the federal government in general, and the Clinton administration in particular.

“Dean Henry H. Perritt, Jr. advised President Clinton’s transition team on information policy,” says the document, which also says Associate Dean Harold Krent is a former Justice Department official.

It also shows that all the reviewers listed either worked on large-scale government projects or currently hold active security clearances. Those clearances include a top secret rating from the National Security Agency, a top secret rating from the Department of Defense and other ratings from the Treasury Department.

IIT Research Institute submitted the document in unaltered form, and Justice Department technicians tried to erase sensitive information before placing it online.

The review is intended to satisfy concerns from privacy groups and some members of Congress that Carnivore chews up more information than is necessary. The report is due to be released to the public in December.

Author: Declan McCullagh

News Service: Wired News

URL: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,39102,00.html