You've Got Mail!

And so does the FBI...

by Dan Zanoza

It was interesting to see the mainstream media's coverage of the government project called "Carnivore." For those of you who may have missed it, Carnivore is an elaborate system whereby computer e-mails are scanned for key words. If, let's say, the president's name would come up with the words "bomb" or "assassination," the system would hone in on that particular e-mail and subsequent communications.

Now if you think this only pertains to foreign provocateurs, you're wrong.  According to reports, Carnivore scrutinizes all e-mails, including the one you sent to Aunt Frieda in Maine.

What's even more amazing is the information got out at all. Usually, some diligent investigative journalist uncovers such intrigue, only to have the story dismissed to mad plots of a conspiratorial nature. It's what I call the Black Helicopter Syndrome. We see it time and time again. Take, for example, the debate over One World Government. President George Bush talked about a New World Order. Many presidents were members of an organization dedicated to this ideology. Frequently, American Armed Forces find themselves under United Nations command and the U.S. leads the way in the advancement of global trade. Yet, when weary citizens warn of a plot to eliminate American sovereignty, skeptics say it's nothing more than paranoia over mythical black helicopters of the inner mind.

But it was the mainstream press which exposed Carnivore to the American public for the most part. The program is reminiscent of George Orwell's vision of a world dominated by Big Brother in his classic novel, 1984. "Echelon" was a project which also scanned private phone conversations for similar key phrases. Operated by a foreign government for purposes of plausible denial, Great Britain listens in on our phone calls and we eavesdrop on theirs. This way, the Constitutional guarantee of the right to privacy is not violated, at least in a technical sense.

Our Nation's Founding Fathers must certainly be turning in their graves. Incidentally, Janet Reno claims the Carnivore system can only be activated under court order. And the FBI says the system has only been used fifty times. However, with human nature as it is, the potential for misuse looms like a sword of Damocles over the heads of American citizens.

Perhaps most puzzling to me is this. We have a system which can isolate particular e-mails, out of millions, yet we cannot find thousands of White House e-mails connected with possible campaign fundraising irregularities. Maybe the problem is the White House e-mails don't want to be found. Or, possibly, the people looking for the e-mails don't want to find them.

Wow! I just realized I've used the words "president, bomb and assassination" all in the same e-mail in order to send this to be posted on the RFFM website.

Perhaps the FBI will be reading this before you do. Ahh, technology. Isn't it wonderful?



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