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Digital Telephony

Resolutions of the Libertarian National Committee

April 1994

WHEREAS the Clinton Administration and the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have announced support for reviving the FBI's 1992 legislative initiative on digital telephony (now named the Digital Telephony and Communications Privacy Improvement Act of 1994);

WHEREAS the Digital Telephony Act requires telephone, cable television, and computer network companies to alter their switches and computers to ensure that the government can conduct surveillance from a remote location while private communication is going on requires that manufacturers and support companies aid communications companies in complying;

WHEREAS the Digital Telephony Act also requires the installation of surveillance-facilitating software in telephone switching equipment in order to expose personal information -- such as telephone-calling patterns, credit-card purchases, banking records, and medical records -- to the view of agents of the government and requires that communications companies make that information available to government agencies;

WHEREAS any company that fails to comply with the requirements of the bill would be fined $10,000 per day and closed down;

WHEREAS such personal information including transactional data should be the private property of either the company that assembles it, the individual to whom it pertains, or some other private third party -- depending on the contractual situation;

WHEREAS enactment of the Digital Telephony Act would require a fundamental re-engineering of the infrastructure supporting communication and the transmittal of information, at great expense to American taxpayers and the users and owners of private communications systems,

WHEREAS enactment of the Digital Telephony Act would make furnishing the FBI with easy wiretapping capability the overriding priority for designers of telephone equipment and related software; and

WHEREAS it is a lie to call this legislation a "Privacy Improvement Act";

Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian National Committee opposes enactment of the proposed Digital Telephony Act as a serious infringement of civil liberties and a gross violation of property rights.