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SubjectRe: [patch] PIII/Katmai & FXSAVE support, disable serial-#, 2.2.2
> Not only that, but I've heard from the naysayers that the concept of
> having ANY unique ID in your computer is bad. The first thing I thought of
Well, I think that may be taking it to an extreme.. just my opinion.
> was MAC addresses. All those cable modem/ADSL users already have a method
> of identifying themselves given the right software (no, not arp).
Yes, a MAC address does provide a semi-stable means of identifying
a machine (I'll not digress into 101 ways to forge this). We use this
method all the time when tracking an IP "bandit" on our network.
Given a MAC, I can tell you with reasonable accuracy the NIC chipset
manufacturer, workstation vendor, and often the identification of the
chipset itself. This fact is not under dispute on the list as far
as I know.
The difference is in the details with the P3 psn. From what
I understand (and this is limited, forgive me for inaccuracies here),
the P3 psn is being presented as a means of providing web content
restriction based on processor type.
This may not be apparent right now, but may become further
down the road. If the developer of your web browser codes something
to pass the psn of your machine to a website upon connection
(this is trivial to implement), an unethical webmaster may then
be able to say "If you use the Pentium III or IV or Merced, etc.
you can view content presented on this page. Otherwise, I send
you to /dev/null".
I research things such as communication/information theory
on the side, and it is plain that the P3 psn can also be used as
means of auditing the web sites visited, e-commerce transactions
handled, etc. of a particular computer with a dialup account (and
thus, an exact person or group of people). This is no small threat
in a time where information warfare and intelligence operations
are commonplace in both government and private sectors. Can you
imagine the power such data would give a marketing firm when
selecting target audience? "So Mr. Smith, I see you purchased a
Widgetmaster 1000 in January... how would you like a special upgrade
to the 2000 model?"
At any rate, the rant is debunked in the end by the fact that
anyone motivated to find information about you can do so through
hundreds if not thousands of sources. The psn is yet another
pebble in the mountain of an information warfare arsenaul.
> Also, don't BIOSs carry ID stamps, too?
Perhaps (I'm an Alpha guy, myself), but as another person
pointed out, you are not likely to be passing this information
over the network to a third party.


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