You may have heard about Carnivore, a controversial program developed by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to give the agency access to the online/e-mail activities of suspected criminals. For many, it is eerily reminiscent of George Orwell's book "1984." Although Carnivore was abandoned by the FBI in favor of commercially available eavesdropping software by January 2005, the program that once promised to renew the FBI's specific influence in the world of computer-communications monitoring is nonetheless intriguing in its structure and application.

What exactly was Carnivore? Where did it come from? How did it work? What was its purpose? In this article, you will learn the answers to these questions and more!