UIC John Marshall Journal of Information Technology & Privacy Law


Neal Hartzog


"You already have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." With the FBI's new stealth surveillance tool, the "Magic Lantern," this quote is an understatement. This article takes reader through a revealing journey of how the FBI, under the authority of the USA Patriot Act, conducts surveillance by using the most advanced technology such as the "Magic Lantern" and "Carnivore." The author first explains how these invisible keystroke logging software/worm/Trojan horse functions in acquiring the information for the FBI constantly and consistently over the Internet. Undoubtedly, the extend of individual's privacy invasion would be pervasive. Hence, the author discusses the constitutionality of the use of the Magic Lantern and Carnivore and the application of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to the Magic Lantern. Despite such fears, the September 11th terrorist attack and war on terrorism changed the legal landscape of how such technology is evaluated. In the end, the author seek the wisdom from the courts and Congress. In balancing national security and personal privacy, the author hopes sufficient safeguards will be in place while "Magic Lantern" can bring its "Magic" to bring out the best of both worlds.