An advisory group to the European Parliament is asking the government body to consider banning Intel's Pentium III chip in Europe for privacy reasons.
In a report on electronic surveillance techniques presented recently to the European Parliament, the Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA), asked that parliamentary committee members consider legal measures that would `prevent these chips from being installed in the computers of European citizens'.
Such measures would be taken only after a group of technical experts first assesses the security risks to consumers connected to the product, STOA said in its report, posted on the Internet. The report is entitled Encryption and Cryptosystems in Electronic Surveillance: A Survey of the Technology Assessment Issues.
The STOA report also calls on US Government agencies, including the National Security Association and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to `provide information on their role in the creation of the PSN [personal serial number] created by Intel'. The recommendation on the Intel chip is one of a series of recommendations that STOA makes on how to improve security for European citizens.
Intel's new Pentium III chip first drew attention from privacy advocates earlier this year when it was discovered that it contains a unique PSN that could allow outside parties to track a user without the user's knowledge.
The serial number in Intel's Pentium III chip was initially touted by Intel as a way to make electronic commerce easier. When groups protested the PSN, however, Intel said it would make software available that lets users switch off the serial number function. However, experts doubted whether this could be accomplished.
A copy of the report is available at cryptome.org/stoa-r3-5.htm