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Intel faces possible Euro block on Pentium IIIs

Processor serial number, NSA raise their ugly mugs again

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A report from the STOA Committee of the European Union has suggested that the economic bloc look long and hard at the implications of Intel's personal serial number (PSN) embedded in the Pentium III microprocessor. (We know it's really dubbed the processor serial number, but our substitution of personal seems oh so apposite.) The STOA (scientific and technological options assessment) committe is presenting its findings to the European Parliament, in connection with the development of surveillance technology and the risk of abuse of economic information. According to a report presented by Franck Leprevost to the committee, and called Encryption and Cryptosystems in Electronic Surveillance, there is a prima facie case that the PSN breaches European protocols on security. The report recommends close examination of the role of the role of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA), in relation to the Pentium III's embedded security number. In part of the report, Leprevost states: "The PSN is very different from the IP (Internet Protocol) address, even though a user’s IP address can be revealed to any webpage he or she chooses to visit. "IP addresses are not as permanent as PSNs: many users have no fixed IP address that can be used to track their movements, as they may use masks via the proxy servers of Internet service providers. ISPs normally assign a different IP number per session and per user. "Users can also change ISP, use a service which guarantees their anonymity, etc. As it stands, the PSN can therefore be used for electronic surveillance purposes." The news report, in German, may be found here, while the full report to the committee can be downloaded from this page. ® See also ECHELON, NSA spooks face Congress scrutiny

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