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Carnivore is a system implemented by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation that is analogous to wiretapping, except in this case, e-mail and other online communications are being tapped instead of telephone conversations. Carnivore is a customizable packet sniffer that can monitor all of a target user's Internet traffic. Carnivore was implemented during the Clinton administration with the approval of the U.S. Attorney General.

The origin of the codename "carnivore" is explained as "Carnivore chews all the data on the network, but it actually eats the information authorized by a court order."[1]


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