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New ads aim to raise awareness of surveillance


(IDG) -- Advertisements that will appear soon in the New Yorker and The New York Times will attempt to raise awareness about U.S. government surveillance programs.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it is sponsoring the ads because the surveillance programs known as "Carnivore" and "Echelon" threaten the privacy of U.S. citizens and violate the constitutional amendment designed to protect Americans from unwarranted government surveillance.

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The ad will include the headline, "Now equipped with 3-way calling. You, whoever you're dialing, and the government." It also urges readers to visit the ACLU Web site, which includes a link that can be used to send a fax to members of Congress.

Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the ACLU, said the ads are not in response to a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey published last week on public attitudes on governmental attempts to combat online crime. The survey showed 54 percent of Americans approve of the idea of the FBI monitoring suspects' e-mail, while 34 percent disapprove.

The ad campaign has been planned for a while, and the study makes it clear that people are suspicious of government surveillance, Steinhardt said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) continues to develop its Carnivore e-mail sniffer, which attaches to an ISP's network, either to provide investigators with the names of people with whom a suspect is communicating or to provide investigators with the ability to read the full content of a suspect's e-mail.

The FBI has said Carnivore, which the FBI now calls DCS1000, was designed to preserve the privacy of ordinary Internet users when law enforcement officials are investigating major crimes, such as terrorism, child pornography, and fraud.

Echelon involves five nations in a network that the ACLU says aims to intercept virtually all forms of electronic communications.

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Concerns remain about FBI's 'Carnivore' wiretap
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Consumer group: Online privacy protections fall short
January 26, 2001
States to weigh in on Net privacy rules
January 25, 2001
High-tech trade group unveils Net privacy principles
January 19, 2001
Analysis: Your PC could be watching you
November 15, 2000

Critics pan gov't surveillance
Privacy advocates want Carnivore leashed
ACLU blasts Carnivore review team for close ties to administration
Carnivore gets a passing grade
Concerns remain about Carnivore
Despite new name, Carnivore still bites
Online privacy survey finds conflicting views
AOL agrees to change privacy claims in ads


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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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