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Pentium IIIs Banned in Arizona? 134

Ryan Radecki writes " reports that Arizona lawmakers are planning to introduce a bill that would ban the Pentium III due to its usage of a serial number for PC tracking and identification. The bill would ban chips with serial numbers, computers with chips with serial numbers, prohibit state and government agencies from buying computers with said chips inside, and prohibit the manufacture of said chips in the state, which would be an intriguing situation for the two Intel fabrication plants located in Arizona. "
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Pentium IIIs Banned in Arizona?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Might this be a little overboard? I think they should require a company statement that the SN will NEVER be sent without the customer's permission. This is suffient for me (and something Intel has not promissed.)

    In related things, anyone think about this senario: A nasty company produces a program that encorporates Intel's unlock-the-serial-number code, at which point the program begins checking serial numbers across the internet and uses these for tracking purposes. I can see MS doing this. Be scared.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The root of this stupidity is the media. Yesterday,
    I heard a report on CNN about the PIII, it said
    "The new Intel PIII chip has a serial number that
    it sends across the internet."

    I bet if the mass media actually KNEW what it was
    talking about, stupid people in government office
    wouldn't try to pass laws such as this one.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I suppose this means that they'll be getting rid of *all* of their mainframes, since they *all* have serial numbers, and have had forever?

    mark, who, among many other things, used to
    ask for the number to give a key for
    the software....
  • Yeah, sure, so the bill would seem to prohibit ethernet cards with hard-wired MAC addresses and computers with EPROM hostids, etc in its current form, as reported by the media
    1. Have any of you actually RTFB (bill)?
    2. Bills are frequently modified before being passed; if this one needs changes, it can be changed.
    3. Just because we've quietly accepted hostid numbers and permanent MAC addresses doesn't mean that's right.** Why shouldn't you be able to reprogram your MAC number? (perhaps leaving the manufacturer/model info intact)? Why souldn't licenses be based on DNS-resolvable hostnames and number of CPU's instead of which EPROM is in the motherboard?
    4. The intent of the bill -- to protect individual privacy -- is a good thing.

    No, the bill's not perfect, but it can, and probably will, be improved. I like the idea of anonymous hardware. I'd prefer that my hardware did not have machine-readable id numbers. Are folks here actually advocating the use of machine-readable id numbers???

    ** Why have we accepted this? I'd guess because for the most part hostids and MAC addresses predate the Web and the the explosion of consumer PC use. hostids and MAC's don't generally bother corporate types who like control and move slowly, etc. This sort of id info is inappropriate for single end-user computers. If the Arizona bill not only stops the P3 big brother fiasco but leads other hardware vendors to produce more anonymous hardware, I say that's great.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's not that Ethernet cards and mainframes and SGI machines already have serial numbers in them. The point is the fact that soon an overwhelming majority of home PCs will have the ID number. How many of these novice or part-time users will even know about the serial number, much less understand the ramifications?

    If most of the naive users don't know or care about being tracked, it will be almost impossible for those who do understand to keep anonymous. You will have to enable the serial number simply to run software, shop on the 'net, or maybe even check email. I don't know about you, but rebooting for every other task to enable and disable this number seems like a serious pain.

    Look at the Social Security Number. There are lots of places that ask you for it. In a lot of cases, you are not required to give it, but the provider of the service is also not required to provide you service (e.g. a credit card). So, even though there are ways to keep the number from being broadcast, it may severely limit your ability to *do* anything (computer-wise).

  • This bill is probably nothing more than a message to Intel. The law would never survive a challenge in the courts and everybody knows it--they also know that lobbying against passage would be expensive, that the cost in terms of PR would be big, and that in the unlikely event that it became law, it would cost a lot of money to challenge it in the courts.

    My problem with this whole mess is: I haven't been able to find any details on the actual implementation. Would the actual ID be traded, or would it be used to generate a signature? Trading a trusted, indelible ID would only create a huge security hole. Once a cracker has your chip ID, he can spoof your identity and there's nothing you can do about it--you're screwed. A signature can be revoked, but not an ID. Am I wrong?
  • ...for the fact that you can change the MAC address of an ethernet card rather easily.

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • You can change the host ID of a sparc or an SGI easily. You can change an ethernet card's MAC address (which is especially easy to do on a Sparc - hell, it's in the NVRAM FAQ.) You cannot, however, change the serial number on the PIII. Each one is unique and permanent. All the comparisons I'm seeing between the PIII and other pieces of computer equipment have so far been invalid.

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • Damn! I'd have thought _some_ slashdotters would clue to this! Nobody really _cares_ what Joe Schmoe does on the net. The issue here is:
    -chip can send out a serial number asserting 'I am a PIII chip!'
    ...and of course this leads by the expenditures of payola-type money to...
    -web sites begin REQUIRING, not suggesting, not demanding but REQUIRING Intel. Not just Intel, none of those damned Celerons- PIIIs!
    I am sorry but THAT is what this is about- and I see no reason to humor it. Look, if even 25% of web sites were using such an arrangement, the _first_ thing that would come to people's minds would be Intel monopolising, trying to kill off AMD not to mention Motorola and anybody else by pure market manipulation tactics. Why, why is it that when it actually starts _happening_, people flip out, totally miss the real message and start thinking Intel cares about their visiting
    Sheesh. I almost want Arizona to _pass_ this one simply because in their stupidity they are addressing the real threat of this scenario that NOBODY else seems to be cluing into. Just why do you think Windows PCs are so frickin' popular, because people chose them on the merits? No, it's because people had stuff they wanted to do that was _barred_ to anything other than a Windows PC. Now Intel is trying to set up an authentication racket. Whether or not the thing's active by default is moot- if you want to surf X or download from Y you _will_ turn it on (or throw out your celeron, go buy a real PIII and _then_ turn it on)
    The motive for Intel in this should be _damn_ obvious.
  • Intel PCs running Windows are typically single use machines so CPU ID maps to a user. Sun workstations are frequently multi-user and users frequently use more than one machine so mapping the CPU or hostid to a user would be silly.
  • If a law is directed at a particular entity, then isn't that law a bill of attainder (hence, illegal)? If so, I can see Intel suing the State of Arizona for punitive and compensatory damages...could be really bad for some over zealous legislators. A broad law, written against chips with the features Intel's has would be OK (as long as the feature isn't patented) because the state could argue that it was looking out for the privacy of its citizens, while a law written specifically against the P III would be legislative suicide.

    # find /dev/brain
    find: cannot open /dev/brain: No such file or directory
  • What, they've never had SGI, Sun or DEC equipment in AZ before? Hmmm. They all had IDs in hardware/firmware.
  • The chip doesnt send anything out on the internet on its own.. no one is going to be able to track you for having a serial number on your chip... the only way to get at it is if a program running on your system gets it and sends it out... if big brother already has daemons running in the background on your computer then its too late anyway and a CPUID wont make a difference... also many devices have unique serial numbers such as hard disks. it is really useless to track a person or as identification because the plaintext is always availible to any program... software programs must do something with it and sofware isnt any less hackable because it calls this cpuserial opcode... its just a PR stunt by intel gone bad... they knew that it was useless for encryption and ID (its hard not to if you know anything about encryption) and that the functionality was already there... they just wanted to sell a few more chips.. (e-commerce is a buzzword) ha.. somebody got very fired over this. ah well... lates
  • Just wish this was a state with a little bit
    more weight in terms of computer consumer buying
    power (like CA, TX, any New England state, etc...)
    Although I truely doubt that Intel will just ignore AZ's ban, and sell to the other 49 states

    At least I'm glad to see both people at the national and state levels standing up for
    personal privacy and the net.
  • Can you buy Ethernet cards in Arizona?

  • . . . "Far too often a state will bend over
    backwards to please corporations". . .
    Try - bend over forwards.
    Actually, AZ just hit up Motorola for a huge bill to clean up toxic waste.
    I think the semiconductor industry isn't feeling too welcome in that state any longer.
  • "Believe me, when Intel figures out that the reason their latest and greatest isn't
    selling is because consumers don't like this 'feature' they'll take it out"

    No, millions of uninformed consumers will continue to buy their inferior chips, just as they have in the past, and when enough do, requirement of the PSN will become a standard, and those who do not advertise their PSN will be "shut out" of vital internet services like ecommerce, etc.

    The genie is out, and intel is only making the bullets. The firing squad is the online business community, and the sheep just keep on marching to their slaughter, and taking us all along for the ride.
  • There's little Intel can do to guarantee that BIOS companies and OS companies (Microsoft) will treat the CPU ID as "sensitive" data only to be given with the user's permission.

    Think about it though, guys. The only way details like this can be sent over the web is if an applet requests your permission to retrieve it. It's the same thing with software serial numbers (like the Microsoft web registration stuff). The only way it can be sent without your permission is if the software is re-written specifically to do so. I can't imagine Microsoft doing that. In addition, re-enabling it (and requesting a reboot, deceptively so that you won't know it's re-enabled) is, again, a deception that must be deliberately written into the software. Have you any idea as to the PR nightmare that would cause once it's discovered (and it will be discovered very fast, especially in light of all the press this has gotten)? If you're worried, write them a letter and tell them your concerns. This isn't Intel's problem.
  • Are there panels of technical advisors that clue lawmakers in on things before the lawmakers blindly make decisions like this on little, typically inaccurate, information?

    It seems to me that we shouldn't HAVE to bombard our legislature with corrections or educational letters in order for them to know the "real" story. If the sole source of information these people have is the mass media, we are in some serious trouble.

    And what about CNN? How in the world can they get off by broadcasting misleading information like this? Don't THEY have some sort of technical staff reviewing these stories before they're released? I think it's time we have a few respectable news organizations step up and admit that most of the rest of the mass media is exaggarating the problem.
  • Well, how is a CPU going to transmit its ID across the Internet? It is not the CPU we should be worried about here, it is the software. Maybe software that transmits the CPU ID across the Internet without the user's knowledge should be banned. But, really what is the big deal? How will you specifically be identified by your CPU ID? Is Intel going to register all purchasers of their CPUs and make that database available to companies? I highly doubt it. I'm sure there are any number of things on your computer that could be "broadcast across the Internet" that people would complain about. What about a list of what software is installed on your system, oh, wait, that's been done already...
  • And then you got a bunch of people who don't know a bit of what's inside the computer, let alone use it adequately, and the salespeople who plug the computers into their arses and don't know any better. The kind of people who form the bread and butter of Internet e-commerce because they are more eager to click on a link without knowing what it is for. Kinda like the average AOL customer.
    These people would buy said chip if it's offered in an actractive way, unless they're told what's wrong with it. So, we can't just stand still and wait til the market settles, we must go and spread the word.
  • Good point, though I'd think with all the butt-kissing the legislature does to attract big business here, they'd remember not to annoy the big businesses once they are here.

    I remember when Intel moved in to New Mexico (I was there at the time), and I've since heard about the tailspin Albuquerque went into when they scaled back (or was it pulled out) of there. Not pretty.

    But then, Intel isn't a sports franchise.
    Legislators looove sports franchises...
  • I laugh, sadly.

    I live in Arizona; used to work for the state private industry pays much better) and I can tell you that the legislature here is the absolute stupidest elected body I have ever had the misfortune to deal with in my life.

    Unfortunately, their advisors are no better.

    Years of futilely voting for the best person for the job has made me cynical, except in one key issue: I can usually predict the losers in elections.

    In reply to one comment, yes, the state government uses Sun servers. I personally know of at least five. This guy hasn't got a clue.

  • So? The next time you reboot, it reports back. What's the problem?
  • This law would also outlaw network cards - which have unique MAC addresses hardcoded, SCSI Disks - which have a serial number, and many modern modems - which also include serial numbers. If Ethernet cards didn't come pre-programed from the factory with a unique number, maintaining uniqueness on a large LAN would be a major hassle. (worse than the current situation with IP's, since bootp and dhcp won't work for this sort of thing.) Software serial numbers on SCSI drives and Modems help ensure that the correct version of firmware upgrades are installed.

    This law is even lamer than Intel's suggestion that an easily tampered with serial number could help secure e-commerce. If it becomes official, folks in Arizona would have to manually set MAC addresses on all their new network cards, as well as risk installing unmatched firmware upgrades on their new SCSI drives and Modems.

  • Sun Sparc Stations have an EPROM on the mother board with its hostid on it. Would this law ban Sparcs?
  • It's on a PROM in the front panel
    or in the backplane, depending on the model.
  • it never ceases to amaze me how idiotic my state legislature is. i think i'll contact Steve May [] (the guy who is going to introduce this bill) and inform him that his bill will force the state government to remove all its Ethernet cards. sheesh!

    contact Steve May: email [mailto] | 602-542-5408


  • Tell me what I don't see here. The slashdot community is in general having hissy fits over the idea of people being able to track everything you ever do on your computer by the identification number you'd get in a Pentium III. And the slashdot community is in general tired of American governments doing stupid things.

    So when a state government stands up for internet privacy rights even though there are two HUGE Intel facilities in Arizona, including at least one design center and a fab, what do you do? You complain! I don't get it.

    We all know that the story was badly worded and that is not meant as a site for people that now the difference between the serial number etched on chip, a serial number in eprom, or Intel's indentification serial number scheme. Just for once, can we be happy? Just once?

    Andrew Gardner
  • Now, I understand that the government should be involved in as few things as possible, but a libertarian understanding of this situation is inadequate to fully describe it. If this technology can be used to bring about an age in which there is virtually no privacy in internet transactions, then government intervention is necessary if you believe in the ideal of internet privacy. As far as the free market determining these things, that relies upon fundamental assumptions that are lacking in this case.

    We assume the public must be well informed enough to make intelligent decisions, but the general public doesn't know anything about encryption, serial numbers in IP packets, or anything else. The general public uses AOL and Microsoft products. Web servers run NT and IIS. People are obviously uninformed.

    The free market functions only when the vast majority of people are operating under the same set of assumptions, under the same of information that is closely correlated to the truth. That isn't happening.

    If we nerds (the only people with the information to make decisions like these) are to abdicate our role as leaders in favor of a libertarian, free market system full of people who don't have the fundamental understanding of these situations, we are guarenteed that whoever has the most money to market their ideas will win, regardless of cost, technical merit, or any other consideration.

    Andrew Gardner
  • There are a lot of tech firms around here. This guy is out of line. There's no way this will pass. I just wish that lawmakers like him would get clued before jumping in front of the microphone. Here's a link to his page if you'd like to (politely) let him know that this is a bad idea: smay.htm [] Please don't flame, just inform.
  • Well, people have already mentioned ethernet addresses.

    What about iButtons? [] My dad has a weather station based on Dallas Semiconductor's iButton/1wire technology, and he's quite impressed with its usability and nifty factor. What makes it so cool is that these little disposable gate-activated switches each have a unique 64-bit serial number.

    What about - get this - automobiles? I mean, they have registration numbers on all the parts, including the onboard computer...

    There's just whole bunches of stuff with serial numbers. I have no problem with serial numbers in my chips, even in the CPU; it takes software to broadcast/care about the serial number, and so I just won't run software that violates my privacy by doing that. I mean, plenty of other programs do that without serial numbers in the CPUs; I've seen SNES emulators which use lots of system characteristics to determine a serial number (which, of course, breaks it when you upgrade your memory or CPU or whatever). Motherboards have serial numbers as well, but people don't complain about that.
  • by Bishop ( 4500 )

    Guess this means that anyone (in Arizona) with an SGI will have to get rid of it. I wonder if it applies to network cards? Ofcourse we call that number a MAC or hardware address, not a serial number. So I guess it's alright.

    Something tells me this legislation isen't going to happen.

  • Even though I'm not in favor of PIII serial numbers, I think this bill is pretty stupid. For anyone who doesn't believe that other computers have serial numbers, compile this program on an SGI or a Sun (probably works on others, but I didn't test it)...


    int main(int argc, char* argv[]) {
    char buf[512];


    printf("serial number: \"%s\"\n",buf);

    Hey, guess we need to ban most workstations too now, since someone could incorporate this code into a web browser!
  • I just love how these yahoos jump on a technological bandwagon based on some unknown or undefined fear and try to make a law about it as soon as possible. How many times has our Congress done this?? I bet you 99% of the dolts in the state govt. of AZ have no clue about this topic other than what they've read in the papers. Yet, once the privacy alarms were sounded, they hopped on their white horses.
    The point has been made already that Ethernet cards and several other types of chips already have IDs. I can see it now, the reaction from the stupid state govt: "What? Really? ummmmm.....Oh." (walks away scratching head) Let's find something a LITTLE more important to work on.....
  • I've often been able to disable it just by installing it or trying to use it, and it often disables itself.
  • If I lived in Arizona I'd appreciate the concern for my privacy but wouldn't much care for the state interfering in my choice of processors.
    'Course this whole serial number thing could be just to make it easier to recall them for FPU problems.
  • Try running 'hostid' on a Sun system. Each machine has a unique host ID number associated with it. I'm not sure if this is tied to the CPU(s). Its probably tied to some auxiliary chip on the motherboard. Nevertheless, they do have this. I'd love to see the State of Arizona get by without Sun servers. This would definitely affect ISPs such as @Home who use Suns, as well as the major universities in AZ (UofA, ASU, NAU, etc.) and who knows how many government agencies and smaller ISPs.

    On the other hand, you have to see this proposed law for what it is. It appears to me that it is designed to *PROTECT* the consumer.

  • I got to agree. This bill was still born before the ink was dry and the people the wrote it know it was. It could be AZ's congress', or whatever, way of saying "that our people don't want this in our state and if you try it we're going to ban it."

    But more likly it's just a way to grab some press coverage and make a few brownie points with the privacy groups. Is it election time in AZ?

  • You are missing 3 important facts here:

    1. Not every computer has an Ethernet card but every computer needs a CPU.

    2. The MAC adress can be changed easily with most Ethernet cards

    3. It is trivial to build software to run only on a CPU with a certain ID, which would force customers to turn this feature on. Using MAC adresses for the same purpose wouldn't be very useful since not every computer has one and it it is next to impossible to read the MAC adress without relying on third party hardware drivers.
  • This is easy to overcome: Silently change the BIOS setting and wait for the next reboot. After all, who checks his BIOS settings on every startup?
  • This reminds me of the time that some state legislature tried to set the official value of Pi to 3 at the insistence of some bible-banger.
    But it's possible to override the ethernet ID on an ethernet card (and fairly easy, too), and it's also possible to do it on the PIII. What they want to restrict is non-overridable numbers... but not even then. There are products from security companys (smart cards, smart rings, etc) with cryptographic identifiers in them that people really do buy because they are a pain to forge.
    All of a sudden it's impossible to use key-card doorlocks based on this technology! Big Brother wants you to have less security in your home and business! Someone should point this out to the legislature.
  • I can't vouch for HP, Sun, etc., but I know that this would specifically exclude MIPS chips, as they all have serials in the CPU or CPU module. Really annoying when a chip blows and you have to not only wait for the new cpu but then also wait for new licenses for all of your nodelocked software...
  • The new Hewlett-Packard Kayak PC's are using DMI. DMI has many interesting features to allow for management of a Win32 system in a big office. One of the more interesting features of this system is the serial number reporting mechanism. There is a "Serial Number" and an "Asset Number," both of which are stored in non-volatile memory. The "Serial Number" is set at the factory and apparently cannot be changed. These serial number data are available through calls to the DMI agent on the system or via a suitable DMI-aware application.

    Kriston J. Rehberg []

  • actually, a corporation does count as an entity in and of itself. unlike a partnership, which is disolved legally when a partner dies, a corporation is assumed to have "a life of its own" so to speak, and so continues on. this is also the same reason we have limited liability with corporations -- the corporation, as an individual, may take loans, etc. and he/she/it is the party responsible.

    there are some places where the punishments and rights are not the same (send Microsoft to the electric chair?), but this is the model that America, at least, has chosen to work with.
  • These are the same lawmakers protecting us and the rest of the world from an arms race in weapons of mass destruction like CRYPTO.

    This is political opportunism by politicians who have made no attempt to understand the issue whatsoever. Unga, chip have number, some no like number, me no like number, people like me.
  • ....didn't these legislators hear that Intel plans to drop the PID "feature" from their Pentium III design?
  • My suggestion would be to make the use of
    UltraSPARC chips and Solaris 7 mandatory and to
    ban all other chips and operating systems. Welcome
    to the brave new world!
  • >The only way it can be sent without our
    >permission is if the software is re-written
    >specifically to do so. I can't imagine Microsoft
    >doing that.

    Nothing has stopped them from silently over-writting things and requesting a reboot before. Bah. Having an ID on a cpu is just a bad idea.
  • I am amazed that a lot of you are actually supporting this. If the SN's bother you, you have several choices: buy a PII, buy a clone, buy a Mac, boycott, etc. All Arizona is doing is taking away from users and manufacturers the right to choose what products they are goiing to buy and sell. It is a horrendous violation of Intel's right to make any damn chip it wants.
  • I am amazed that a lot of you are actually supporting this.
    Funny, most of the posts I see are opposed to it, although not for the reason you're saying. It is true though, Intel should be allowed to make any chip they want to - they could make a chip that costs $2Million and makes a "Ping" noise if they wanted to, and nobody should be force them not to. Of course, that dosen't mean anyone else has to buy it, and we all have the right to tell them it's a dumb idea. :)
    The other problem with that law is (as previously mentioned) the sheer number of other systems that it would ban, which are already in use. Big Corp's like Chrysler tend to have a lot of SGI boxes around the place, and they'd have to replace all of them with dumbed-down weak boxes that wouldn't do the job right. Sorry, but there is no PC on the planet that can match a loaded down Challenge-XL, even with an equal ammount of cash dumped into it, and as far as I know, the equivalent Sun and HP servers have on-chip ID's as well. Hopefully someone who's around there will think to point this out to the lawmakers in question, I'm sure they wouldn't want to be responsible for a massive chunk of industry up and leaving their state.
    They're targeting the wrong problem anyways, since chip-IDs are pretty much old news anyhow, and can be usefull in identifying stolen equipment. (Kinda like the serial number on a bicycle, but even harder to get rid of.) What they should be doing is banning the use of chip-IDs as a form of verification for supposedly secure commerce - they're too easy to fake, and would lead the unknowing masses into a false sense of safety, while they all get ripped off.
  • Ummm don't these people realize that it is exteremlly common in larger servers systems to embed a serial number in the chip? The general effect of this would be to ban mid-range and larger systems. As well as ethernet cards, hardware incryption cards, and a whole host of other hardware.
    Dumb, dumber and legislators.
  • This bill from Arizona also would possibly also make many recent Texas Instruments graphing calculators with Flash ROMs illegal. Somewhere in my TI-89 there is a serial number embedded in it. I'm not exactly sure how it is implemented though. Granted these calculators aren't exactly common, yet.

  • ...they'll want to vote in Daylight Savings Time. No more reason to want to live here. I'm movin.

  • That's crazy. I've lived here almost my whole life and didn't know that. I think I can use that to my advantage. I'm gonna turn in my ex-girlfriend. While we were going out that bitch must have racked up a life sentence with all the blow jobs she gave...and that doesn't even count the ones she gave me :)

  • How different is this from the DOJ Microsoft case? I know. It's not similar at all on the surface, but the underlying theme is one of government attempting to protect users from oppressive corporations.

    It is a PR ploy on behalf of the politicians. It does make a statement, but only one about how far governments will go to interfere with the privacy and private lives of individuals.

    Every time you cheer for another blow to big bad Bill (Gates, that is, not the other blow to the other Bill) remember that it won't be the last time a government agency sticks their fingers into the technology pie.

    If this doesn't sound bad to you, just think that Al Gore is the government's Alpha Geek.
  • This is what happens when we relinquish our responsibilities to the government.

    The correct way to deal with the PIII serial number issue is simply not to buy a CPU that you feel comprimises your privacy. Believe me, when Intel figures out that the reason their latest and greatest isn't selling is because consumers don't like this 'feature' they'll take it out. I don't care what other motives Intel has for having it in there, they are still driven by the bottom line.

    When we allow the government to 'protect' us like this we are surrendering a little more of what freedom we do have left. Enough is enough.
  • I hate when this happens... Why does this form
    always react to , just because I want to
    finish the Subject line?

    Anyway: Every ethernet card has a kind of serial number in it. This could also be used to track users - and it's used for copy protection already. Will Arizona ban all ethernet cards as well?

  • Anyway: Every ethernet card has a kind of serial number in it. This could also be used to track users - and it's used for copy protection already. Will Arizona ban all ethernet cards as well?

  • Is the public relations disaster Intel created by claiming this feature was for securing e-comerence.

    The ID scheme is clearly for software copy protection support and really has nothing to do with privacy or security, but they could not possibly convince consumers that this was a desirable feature so they invented this ploy and it backfired terribly.
    Howard Roark, Architect
  • This is all perfect.
    Sure, SOME people might see a contradiction here,
    between Intel plants and banning the PIII.
    But it's just another perfectly normal day in Arizona. :) I love this state!
  • I really think the bill was meant as a way of creating a large scene rather than anything else. It's very likely that the law will be overthrown by the state supreme court, and failing that the US supreme court. Also, I don't think a MAC address necisarally would be a serial number. I'm thinking it would be more of an "identification number." I doubt my logic would hold up in court, but you never know...
  • I think everyone is missing the point. Serialized CPUs do nothing for internet commerce. Software will be what transmits the ID and therefor the ID can be easily spoofed. Even if your software doesn't allow you to spoof the ID you could put your computer behind a linux box and with some hacking make the linux box rewrite the ID when it's transmitted.

    I also don't see how they can be used to invade privacy. See above reasons about rewriting ID. Also, I strongly doubt any web site would require a serialized CPU. It would be dumb to limit your customers to only a select group, while your competetors will sell to anyone.

    Now for security they could do a little bit. If your computer is stolen it would allow a positive ID to be made on that cpu, but since the ID can allegedly be "permanetly" disabled, it's not even good for that.

    The only practical use I can see for a serialized cpu is for locking software to a specific computer. This would be especially usefull for Microsoft when they ship an OS with a new computer. The license says that that you can only use that copy of windows with the computer that it was purchased on. Now microsoft could modify the cd-key code in such a way that one cd-key could work with one and only one cpu. That way you couldn't take that copy of windows that you got with your notebook and install it on your desktop.

    But then again if you can disable the ID that wouldn't seem to be a practical idea, unless of cource you are microsoft and you can do things that aren't practical because you huge. If the serialized cpu is only required on the initial install then if windows is factory installed it doesn't matter.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but the only people I see benifating from a serialized cpu are possibly the software companies.
  • Hrm...and I thought PA was behind the times for LEGALIZING sodomy (which includes oral sex) in 1980. Go figure.
  • Its a shame that our system of government thinks it is their
    responsibility to make laws concerning things they know
    very little, if anything, about. As long as they get enough
    press I suppose it does not matter if they are right or wrong.
    Maybe if some of their constituents took the time to write
    about how ludicrous some of their ideas are this would
    happen less and less.

    Arizona State Legislature []
  • >I may be incorrect, but I believe that you had to
    > actually reboot your machine to unlock the
    > serial id, which precludes companies
    > doing this.

    You mean you'd notice if a windows program said
    "Installation complete. You will have to restart your computer before you can use it. Reboot now?"
  • >The processor ID's are unnecessary. The MAC
    >addresses are needed

    Umm.. why?

    Yes, I know the protocol. But then, IP addresses need to be unique, and the solution is dynamic ip addresses (as used in PPP).

    Pick a random number, check if it's being used, and hey presto.
  • If you dont like US laws, dont move to NZ. The NZ
    govt. caves in to the least bit of preassure from the US. As may be shown by the Wassenaar agreement.
  • Republicans: so concerned about your privacy, unless you are:
    1. female, pregnant, and don't want kids
    2. homosexual
    3. heterosexual with a healthy imagination
    4. HIV-positive
    5. Bill Clinton.
    And don't get me started on the f***ing Democrats.

    When it comes to politicians, my favorite quote is
    from the movie "Manhunter", when Hannibal "The
    Cannibal" Lector replies to the message from his
    admirer. (Look it up if you're interested, I don't
    need some nutcase cybercop thinking I'm totally
  • Even if it does not pass I think it sends a clear message about people wanting privacy.

    As to the above ethernet card issues, How many people on the net are connected by modem and how many by ethernet? For most internet users ethernet id tracking is not an issue

    Doug Bryant
  • Dude (Dudette?)...

    The possiblity of being identified by a serial # over the net has been a possiblity for _years_.

    Checkout this site [] if you have a network card and know its hardware (MAC) address. Should be something like 02:06:82:45:34.
  • Stupid people trying to kill something they don't understand....

    Here is a copy of an e-mail I just sent to this representative:

    Hello Mr. May.

    Although I am no longer a constituent in Arizona, I did grow up and go to college there. I worked for Intel as a circuit design engineer from 1994 through last year, and I must tell you that your proposed bill to ban serialized integrated circuits is, at best, and uninformed attempt to ban a technology you do not even understand.

    Intel's press release that it's serialized Pentium III's was little more than a marketing ploy, albeit a poorly orchestrated one. I will not argue that Intel's suggested use of serialization on it's chips leave many questions regarding privacy unanswered but consider the following:

    1. It is quite likely that Intel has been selling (and manufacturing in Arizona) IC's that have been serialized for years.
    2. Other manufacturers also have motivation serialize their chips. Motorola is an example.
    3. Many other components on a PC, such as motherboard BIOS's, Ethernet network cards, and thousands, possibly millions of components already in use contain serialization.
    4. Most (if not all) software on the market includes a unique serial ID that is easily readable through software and can be used to 'track' users. Windows 98 automatic software update feature is a good example of a technology that already makes good use of this type of technology.

    The bill you propose could have the following consequences if, by some odd twist of fate, it were to pass:
    1. It would cripple the computing infrastructure of most companies, since the local area network (ethernet) cards would become illegal.
    2. The ban on manufacture of serialized chips would likely shut down operations of large portions of two of the biggest employers in Arizona, namely, Intel and Motorola, even if the aforementioned network card issue was given reprieve. Let's not forget ST Microelectronics, Honeywell/Bull, Burr Brown and Microchip.
    3. The ensuing economic disruption would surely cost the Arizona legislature millions (if not billions) in litigation defending cases brought by these companies, not to mention the economic havoc that would be associated with turning tens of thousands of Arizonan's away from their jobs.
    4. It would demonstrate that Arizona's state legislature is as uninformed and non-sensical as is sometimes joked about by it constituents.

    -name omitted for \. post-
  • Jeez. Looks like the Az. lawmakers didn't do much homework, considering they are backing themselves into a corner by limiting a number of needed devices (Ethernet) and computers. DUH.

    Seems like a god idea gone awry. I agree that Intel's idea is totally kooky, but I am one to believe that the market should determine itself. Hey, I don't want a chip that goes on spouting off my information, so I won't buy one. What a crazy idea that is. And then, I can form a group of buyers, and say, "Hey, you are going to lose all these Millions of dollars" to "The Man". Looks like that worked better than any law ever will.
  • Even if it's silly, isn't this still a good thing? It seems to me that the point is to send a message to corporations saying that this state respects and will try to defend its resident's privacy. Far too often a state will bend over backwards to please corporations (tax breaks, free loans, etc.) and ignore the damage it might be doing to the residents. Sure, the bill is chock full ignorance, but at least it's voicing an opinion. They might be dumb, but if you can influence your political representatives you can really get your message across.
  • >It is a horrendous violation of Intel's right

    Please quote the bit in the constitution that covers Rights of Corporations.

    I don't think there is one. Corporations don't have rights like you and I do. If they did they would have killed us all off long ago. Seems like far too many people think there is some sort of constitutional protection for corporations.

    Intel cannot make any chip it wants to make. I'm sure the exploding chip or the heroin chip would be outlawed. Az CAN pass any bill it wants to, as long as it doesn't interfere with federal law.
  • Even if the bill passed, which it probably won't because of some federal commerce law somewhere, you'd still be able to buy a PIII. The bill doesn't outlaw the chip, it just says they can't be made or sold in the state (note: you can still buy them, just not in the state...internet is probably the best place to find 'em cheap anyway), and that the government will not be using them.
    I don't really see how it hurts the individual. Maybe it hurts the people that want to physically drive to store to buy computer hardware...

    Who's paranoid?
  • Um. I don't know about that....
    Cars would probably never have been made safer if the government had not intervened.

    The free market thing only works if there are viable alternatives to the product or policy. And I mean really viable, not just out there (case in point, Windows..most people hate it, but most people use it).

    It seems to me there are far more cases of the government 'interfering' on behalf of the people than there are cases where a boycott was successful.
  • That's funny...I thought those first few amendments commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights did define some of my rights. Hmm...maybe I'm thinking of another country.

    IMHO the logic is faulty that says corporations have rights. I realize that it's pretty debatable, and it's one of the excuses that people use to justify corporations donating money to politicians (which I also think is bad), but right or wrong, I don't like it :)

  • I have met several politicians and candidates and they were ok folks. Be careful not to make harsh generalizations.
  • No, this isnt a boycot of any kind. Do you really think Intel cares if 1 state out of this whole world, is going to effect them? HELL NO. All this does is make things harder on businesses, and computer repair shops, and sellers, such as myself, a technician. I frankly dont care about serial #'s on a processor. I really hope this stuff does NOT pass in Arizona.
  • Haven't Sparc chips had this for years ?
  • As I understand, AMD has no plans to include this "feature" on their chips. I think this is a horrible idea, part of being on the net is having somewhat anonymous useage. ID tagging chips would completely kill this. I do realize this does have it's upsides, but for every one there is a most likely a downside.
    For example: Your isp could set it so you could always log in, because you are on the same machine.
    Downside: Somebody, somewhere will figure out a way to fake the ID, either with hardware or software.

    For example: You would never need a cookie sent to YOU again, the server would hold the info if you have been there or not.
    Downside: Same as the isp deal.

    It seems to me that the security risk is larger than the advantages. Plus, what if you ever sell your computer? You are going to have to notify ALOT of people that you aren't using the same computer any more. You would have to email somebody at the site about it in order to reinstate your account with them on your new computer.

    So, I think it is a horrible idea, but besides, I'm never going to buy an intel chip again as long as AMD keeps going the way they are.
  • I suppose that because it is now technologically possible to set up cameras everywhere to do optical character recognition on license plates, allowing someone to track all the cars anywhere they go, therefore license plates should also be outlawed?

    A clue to the AZ legislature: if you want to do something productive then regulate tracking software, not hardware. A chip simply cannot, in and of itself, send an ID anywhere!
  • I know MS isn't sending any information from my computer anywhere because I don't use any MS products :-)

    That's one of great rhings of open source software!

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."