To defend the law through the investigation of violations of federal criminal law; to protect the U. S. from foreign intelligence and terrorist activities; to provide leadership and law enforcement support to federal, state, local, and international agencies; and to perform these responsibilities in a manner that is receptive to the needs of the public and is faithful to the constitution of the U. S. : this was the responsibilities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ten years ago. Now because of the arrival of the Atomic Age and the increase of the FBI's size and jurisdiction; the FBI had to increase their intelligence and use of technology in order to protect the United States from civil rights violations, organized crime, terrorism, drugs, financial crime, and violent crimes.
In the past ten years, the FBI has encountered an increasing number of criminal investigations in which the criminals use the Internet to communicate with each other or to communicate with their victims. To level the playing field with the criminals, the FBI's modern day technology has allowed the them to develop new programs such as Magic Lantern, Carnivore, and other programs to help prevent future terrorists or criminal attacks. For the last ten years the increasing numbers of computer crimes caused the FBI to develop two software programs to help minimize the number of crimes. One of the software the FBI developed is capable of inserting a computer virus onto a suspect's machine and obtaining encryption keys. This software, known as Magic Lantern, help agents to read data that had been scrambled, a tactic often used by criminals to hide information and evade law enforcement. "The FBI acknowledged the existence of Magic Lantern, a Trojan horse program in is developing that will render encryption useless on a suspect's computer by logging the user's keystrokes.
Magic Lantern reportedly will allow an agent to plant a keystroke logger in a specific computer by using a virus-like program. Once activated, the logger will capture words and numbers as a subject types them (before encryption kicks in), and will transmit them back to the agent" (Zetter and McLeod). The Magic Lantern has already proved that it is a success. The FBI has used the Magic Lantern method on a mob boss by the name of Nicodemo S. Scarfo Jr. The FBI could never get enough evidence on the mob boss to convicted him until the Magic Lantern idea was introduced.
"The FBI planted a keystroke-logging tap in Nicodemo S. Scarfo Jr.'s computer. Scarfo had thwarted other court-approved methods of surveillance because he used the popular encryption program Pretty Good Privacy. That was too powerful for the FBI to crack, so the agency instead used a keystroke tap, which recorded Scarfo's passwords to his data.
Just weeks after the was in place, Scarfo was arrested and charged with masterminding an illegal betting and loan-sharking operation" (Taylor). The best snooping technology that the FBI currently uses is the other software that the FBI uses which is somewhat of a electronic surveillance. Because many Internet Service Providers (ISP) lacked the ability to discriminate communications to identify a particular subject's messages to the exclusion of all others, the FBI designed and developed a diagnostic tool, called Carnivore. "Carnivore, a controversial tool the FBI uses to collect e-mail passing through the servers of internet service providers, is supposed to pick up only e-mail messages relevant to an investigation" (Zetter and Mcleod). The ability of the FBI to conduct lawful electronic surveillance of the communications of its criminals is one of the most important tools for getting evidence to prevent serious criminal behavior.
Unlike evidence that can be discredited through allegations of misunderstanding or bias, Carnivore evidence provides jurors an opportunity to determine factual issues based upon a defendant's own words. Carnivore has been extremely effective in securing the conviction of dangerous felons compared to the past 10 years. In many cases there is no substitute for Carnivore, as the evidence cannot be gathered through other traditional investigative techniques. The Carnivore device provides the FBI with a surgical ability to intercept and collect the communications which are the subject of the lawful order while ignoring those communications which they are not authorized to intercept. "Once it's hooked up, Carnivore can search through e-mail traffic in a variety of ways by names on To and From lines, by IP address and by filtering for keywords within the header and body of an e-mail. In its description of Carnivore, the FBI insists that its software was designed to spy with surgical precision on specific individuals" (Cohen).
The two programs Magic Lantern and Carnivore are both very helpful in its mission to prevent future terrorists and violent crimes. After September 11 attacks, the FBI and other federal government agencies have been criticized for not being able to protect the citizens from the attack because the terrorist was said that they had used computers to communicate. So now with the increase use of technology with the two programs; the FBI can do its part in protecting the United States from future attacks and crimes.