With the growth of the Internet, a debate concerning what access government intelligence should be given to its operations erupted in the mid-1990s in the United States. During this period, hacktivists squashed the U.S. Clipper Proposal, which would have enabled governments to monitor more easily the communications darting across the information superhighway.
In brief, the Clipper Proposal was about an encryption chip designed by the U.S. government that would enforce the use of the chip in all devices that might use encryption—computers, modems, telephones, and so on. Thus, the U.S. government could control the encryption algorithm, giving it the capability to decrypt any recovered message.
Porteous, S. Economic Espionage II. [Online, July, 1994.] Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Website. http://www.csis-scrs.gc.ca/eng/comment/ com46_e.html.