*Privacy Groups Boycott Intel

Calling for a national boycott while proclaiming the new Pentium III chip “toxic hardware,” privacy groups The Electronic Privacy Information Center, Washington, DC, and Junkbusters Inc., Green Brook, NJ, began launching their public relations assault on Intel yesterday with the parody branding slogan “Big Brother Inside.”

The groups are outraged over Intel’s latest technology announcement detailing a new Pentium chip that transmits a user-identified code on all applications run. The chip essentially allows consumers to be tracked and identified as they operate programs or move across the Internet.

Despite critics’ concern, the company said the chip actually helps electronic commerce and reduces piracy because it allows companies to prevent single copies of software from being loaded onto numerous machines illegally. Also, the company said that the feature can be turned off by consumers.

However, published reports claim that the feature restores itself whenever the computer is rebooted.

In Washington, Edward J. Markey, D-MA, has asked Intel to rethink its plans to unveil the controversial new technology expected to create immediate headaches for the Clinton Administration and has scheduled negotiations over strict new privacy regulations passed by the 15-nation European Union last year.

The timing of the boycott coincides with Undersecretary of State for Commerce, David Aaron’s meeting this week with Europeans regarding the U.S. privacy codes.

Industry analysts have warned that precautions need to be taken to avert a possible trade war should businesses be prohibited from transferring computer data with European Union.

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