CDT asks equipment manufacturers how they plan to implement the ID feature.
    Equipment Manufactures' Response on Default Settings on the Intel Pentium III PSN

February 16, 1999

Eckhard Pfeiffer, President & CEO, Compaq Computer Corp.
James Halpin, President & CEO, CompUSA
Michael S. Dell, Chairman & CEO, Dell Computer Corp.
Theodore Waitt, Chairman & CEO, Gateway 2000 Inc.
Lewis Platt, Chairman, President & CEO, Hewlett-Packard Company
Louis V. Gerstner Jr., Chairman & CEO, IBM
Alain Couder, President & CEO, Packard Bell/NEC
Howard Stringer, Chairman & CEO, Sony Corporation of America
Shunichi Yamashita, Chairman & CEO, Toshiba America


At this point, you are well aware that the privacy and consumer community is deeply concerned with the privacy implications of the processor-specific identifier in the Pentium III. We believe that consumers need products that provide strong security, offer robust and varied authentication tools to support electronic commerce, and protect individual privacy and anonymity. Based on what we know so far, the Pentium III unique identifier does not meet this standard, because, the privacy risks inherent in this unique ID feature outweigh the security it potentially provides.

Despite the urging of many privacy and consumer organizations, and an ongoing boycott, Intel's Pentium III chips are, as we write, being installed in your products. For that reason, we are urging you, as the distributors of consumer computers, to assist us in limiting the privacy risk this product poses by disabling the PSN in the BIOS of your Pentium III products.

We strongly believe that in light of privacy concerns Intel should not be placing this product in its current iteration into the marketplace at all. However, faced with the prospect of the Pentium III being shipped in some products this month, we intend to educate consumers about the use of the PSN in consumer computers. We believe that consumers will have greater confidence in computers that come out of the box with the PSN disabled in the BIOS. And we believe, in the interest of informed consumer choice, that companies should publicize whether they are shipping Pentium III products with the ID disabled.

To that end, we would appreciate your response to the following questions by Monday, February 22, 1999, at noon. We plan to disseminate your responses to the public through our Web site and other channels. We realize this is a short time frame, but due to Intel's product release on February 26th, we must distribute information as quickly as possible. We thank you in advance for your timely response.

We hope that your company will show a true commitment to consumer privacy and take action to maximize consumer privacy in the computer products it ships.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Jerry Berman

Executive Director



Please Fax This Form Back to CDT


Which of the following statements best describes your company's position: (please circle the appropriate statement)

  1. Refusing to ship Pentium III systems until Intel disables the PSN in the Pentium III hardware.
  2. Not currently planning to ship Pentium III systems for other reasons.
  3. Planning to ship Pentium III systems with the PSN disabled (turned off) in the BIOS.
  4. Planning to ship Pentium III systems with the PSN enabled in the BIOS (turned on), but disabled (turned off) by default in the Operating System Control Utility provided by Intel or another software mechanism.
  5. Planning to ship Pentium III systems with the PSN enabled by default after startup, but with an Operating System Control Utility provided by Intel or another software mechanism through which the user can disable (turn off) the PSN.
  6. Planning to ship Pentium III systems with the PSN enabled (turned on) by default, but with the ability for the user to disable (turn off) the PSN in the BIOS.
  7. Planning to ship Pentium III systems with the PSN enabled (turned on) by default, with no built-in mechanism to disable (turn off) the PSN.

If you plan to ship products containing the Pentium III chip:

  1. How will the consumer be notified whether the PSN is on?
  2. Will conspicuous notice of the privacy impact of having the PSN enabled be provided, such as a label on the front panel of the PC, in the printed documentation, or as a popup on the desktop?