Government attitudes to electronic privacy, then and now


Recently reading an article from Wired magazine written in 1999 about privacy implications of microprocessors being issued with serial numbers made me think about the present day situation regarding privacy.

The privacy implication in 1999 was online and other activities could be traced to a microprocessor, i.e., traced to a user’s computer, at a low level that potentially could not be bypassed using traditional means (such as the commonplace activity today of people routing their activities through private networks to evade surveillance).

The article’s opening lines stood out:

Bowing to pressure from Washington and civil liberties groups, the world’s largest chipmaker [Intel] said Monday that it will disable a controversial feature in its next-generation Pentium chip that some thought threatened consumer privacy.

Specifically, ‘bowing to pressure from Washington’ some thing in marked contrast to today when government legislators in many areas of the world are adding pressure to make users more traceable for surveillance purposes under the—sometimes valid—auspices of national and individual safety.

How times change.

Reference: Intel on Privacy – Wired 21/05/1999


One thought on “Government attitudes to electronic privacy, then and now

  1. Indeed who would have thought that in 1999 the future meant governments looking to manipulate and redefine privacy for their own ends (BAB)

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