Over at CNET News.com, Declan McCullagh says that the FBI may be using an invasive new surveillance technique that goes far beyond its abandoned Carnivore surveillance system. Apparently instead of just recording the online activity of a particular subject or suspect, agents are using "full-pipe" surveillance -- sucking down all the online traffic that goes across a network's router or switch -- when they or an ISP can't isolate a particular IP address or user to monitor. Only after more information can be divined that allows the agents to isolate a particular user's traffic do they (supposedly) throw out all the other information they've collected. This means the FBI could be collecting the activity of all kinds of people who have done nothing to merit surveillance, and it's a technique that was apparently too invasive for Carnivore. McCullagh also explores the legality of the technique, since it would seem to fall foul of the "minimization" demands of federal wiretap laws which require investigators to limit the amount of information they intercept that's outside the scope of their investigation.
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