America's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is using a super-fast email scanning system dubbed "Carnivore" to covertly trawl through email messages in order to capture suspected criminals, reports the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
The revelations have caused a furore among privacy and security advocates, because it requires a direct connection to a commercial ISP's network, giving the authorities, in theory, access to all Internet communications.
Carnivore is reportedly nothing more than a personal computer fitted with special software capable of scanning millions of emails in a second.
According to the WSJ's report Carnivore, which was launched last year, has been used to gather evidence in fewer than 100 criminal cases.
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