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The point of all of this is to demonstrate how easy it is for your email to be seen by any number of people at any number of computers throughout world. An email message is by no means private (unless, of course, it is encrypted, which means it is saved in a form that cannot be read except by receiver).
How does carnivore operate? Well, if FBI needed to perform an investigation, they would get a court order to install Carnivore on an ISP's email server. This program will monitor all emails that are sent to and received from ISP's system. It is looking for anything related to investigation, and reportedly it can be very finely tuned to look for extremely specific patterns.
In words of FBI, "The Carnivore device provides FBI with a "surgical" ability to intercept and collect communications which are subject of lawful order while ignoring those communications which they are not authorized to intercept. This type of tool is necessary to meet stringent requirements of federal wiretapping statutes."
The FBI requires very specific authorization to perform it's surveillance, as stated on official web site: "Applications for electronic surveillance must demonstrate probable cause and state with particularity and specificity: offense(s) being committed, telecommunications facility or place from which subject's communications are to be intercepted, a description of types of conversations to be intercepted, and identities of persons committing offenses that are anticipated to be intercepted. Thus, criminal electronic surveillance laws focus on gathering hard evidence -- not intelligence."
The issue is whether or not FBI can be trusted to only look at information which it has authorization to examine. On one hand, should we trust agencies such as FBI? Will they abuse this tool? On other hand, why deny critical information to FBI which might help them convict real criminals? Why allow criminals and terrorists a way to send information without threat of surveillance? Hackers and other people already have ability to intercept emails at will - why not allow our law enforcement agencies do same?
Interesting choice, isn't it?
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at http://www.internet-tips.net - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.