Intel Bows to Serial Number Scare

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Facing protest and even boycott, Intel relented yesterday on plans to ship new Pentium III chips with a hardcoded ID code turned on. But the hardware signature can still be activated through software and privacy advocates are calling Intel's reversal a "temporary fix." A graphic on one protest site changes the familiar "Intel Inside" graphic to read "big brother inside."

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center asserted "There's not enough assurances here that the chip will not be abused." His organization's call last week for a boycott was echoed on Friday by Rep. Ed Markey, head Democrat on the House consumer protection subcommittee, who wrote to Intel's CEO asking the company to withdraw the ID plans: ""Intel's new product improves technology for online commerce in a way that compromises personal privacy." MORE>>