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U.S. to detail plans on review of Internet wiretap

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said Wednesday that details for a planned review of the FBI computer program designed to capture e-mail messages for criminal investigations will be released Thursday.

The Justice Department will post a statement on its Web site at 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday detailing the work and its expectations for the wiretap review, Reno said at a news conference.

The study was prompted by concerns the so-called Carnivore program could infringe upon privacy rights. It allows law enforcement to pick off e-mails of criminal suspects amid the flood of data passing through an Internet services provider.

The review will be conducted by academic experts at a U.S. university, which is expected to be named by Reno by September 15. Officials want the Carnivore system's software and hardware review completed by December 1.

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The information to be released on Thursday is largely for prospective review candidates.

"I think we realized that we wanted to make sure that everybody had an equal opportunity and that there was a process in place that people understood," Reno said.

Universities will have 10 business days from Thursday to submit applications after which the Carnivore review team will have two days to make its recommendation, she said.

The university is expected to be selected partly based on its technical expertise in computers as well as on its ability to conduct a comprehensive review within the set time frame.

Reno has said the university experts would have total access to the information they need for the review.

FBI officials have said the court-authorized wiretaps utilizing the Carnivore program only will focus on criminal suspects who are targets of an investigation. However, some fear the system may go too far in gathering information and create the possibility of abuse.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



RELATED STORIES:
FBI to release Carnivore documents, but schedule draws fire
August 17, 2000
Japan's police gain right to tap phones and e-mail
August 16, 2000
FBI says Carnivore will not devour privacy
July 21, 2000
ACLU: Block FBI e-snoops
July 17, 2000
Local law officers to link up to FBI crime data
July 27, 1999
FBI turns on new crime-fighting system
July 19, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Electronic Privacy Information Center
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation


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