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Clipper Chip

Resolutions of the Libertarian National

April 1994

WHEREAS the U.S. National Security Agency has designed the Escrowed Encryption Standard ("Clipper chip") system to facilitate government surveillance of civilian voice and data transmissions;

WHEREAS, on February 4, 1994, the Clinton administration announced that the U.S. government was adopting the Clipper chip system and that businesses confidentially communicating with the government must use equipment with Clipper chips;

WHEREAS, at the same time, the Clinton administration reaffirmed the U.S. government's embargo on the export abroad of Clipper-free encryption devices produced by American companies;

WHEREAS government-imposed encryption standards together with an export embargo on devices not containing Clipper chips will inhibit commercial development of new privacy-enhancing products;

WHEREAS by adopting the Clipper chip system for the government and for companies doing business with the government and by re-affirming the embargo on robust encryption devices, the Clinton administration plans to induce American manufacturers to install government-readable encryption devices in every telephone, facsimile machine, and computer modem made in the United States;

WHEREAS by explicitly denying that the American people have the right to communicate in privacy, the Clinton Administration paves the way for mandatory installation of Clipper chips in all encryption devices used or made in the United States;

WHEREAS government-mandated and government-induced encryption standards will foster indiscriminate surveillance of private communications by agents of the government; and

WHEREAS the Libertarian Party has long upheld the civil liberties of the American Citizen and the privacy of the individual that are inherent in a fully-developed and well-respected system of private property rights;

Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian National Committee opposes government policies promoting or requiring specific encryption methods for civilian use, such as the Clipper chip plan, and favors repeal of the U.S. ban on export abroad of Clipper-free encryption devices produced by American companies.