Information Warfare: January 31, 2005

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The U.S. FBI spent nearly $10 million creating software that could used to tap the email of suspected criminals. The FBI system was nicknamed Carnivore. Turns out it was hardly used at all. Not because of all the ruckus in the media about potential privacy issues, but because better, and much cheaper, software became available from the commercial sector. The FBI went with the commercial applications. The FBI wont say which ones, but there are several out there for the corporate market. Companies can eavesdrop on the email of their employees, when it takes place on company systems. The FBI has a history of spending lots of money on custom made software that, eventually, doesnt work as well as competing commercial products, or doesnt work at all. Especially in the software area, commercial developers tend to be much quicker, and produce better results, than government run software projects. As a result, the war on terror is largely being fought using commercial software, or such stuff that has been modified, by the commercial programmers, to special government specifications.

 


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