Justice Department Gets a `Privacy Czar'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jerry Seper

Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday named a privacy czar to monitor the privacy implications of technologies used by law enforcement agencies in the pursuit of crime, including the FBI cyberprogram known as "Carnivore."

The Justice Department's new chief privacy officer is Associate Deputy Attorney General Daniel P. Collins.

"Dan Collins' responsibilities are of utmost importance," Mr. Ashcroft said in a statement. "As new technologies and scientific developments emerge, we are faced with new challenges to citizens' privacy rights.

"I trust him to make certain we are taking precautions to protect the right to privacy that every American deserves," he said.

In addition to monitoring privacy issues involving law enforcement, Mr. Collins will oversee the department's compliance with laws protecting the privacy of the information it acquires in the course of its operations and its responsibility to enforce existing laws protecting personal privacy. He will consider proposed legislation or regulations to address privacy issues.

Mr. Ashcroft directed Mr. Collins to conduct a review of the Carnivore system, now known as DCS1000, which the FBI has described as an essential crime-fighting tool, and to make specific recommendations for any necessary modifications.

The software program allows FBI agents armed with a court order to target and identify those suspected of using the Internet for illegal activities. …