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Intel's Sandy Bridge processors have a remote kill switch

By Emil
Dec 18, 2010
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  1. gives me reason to NOT buy Intel. I'm so tired of this "guilty until proven innocent" society the US has become.
  2. The data isn't what thieves are after when it comes to personal laptops. Very few thieves are going to steal the family laptop for the data that's on it. Granted, corporate hardware theft is usually for the data, but the average laptop thief probably doesn't even know what the data is useful for, or how to get to it. Most of the time, the laptop is stolen so that it can be resold, usually in whatever condition it was acquired in. A few thieves will have a "friend" wipe the hard drive and install a new OS, so that it can be sold as "new".

    Do you people seriously think that the inner-city crackhead that just stole your laptop is really after your credit card data, and not a quick buck? Or did you forget that computers exist outside of the office?
  3. Great, government control

    Great just another way for our government to control us.If they don't like what we are doing with our computers,they can shut them down anywhere,anytime.Maybe something as small as a comment like this will be enough to make them shut your computer down in the future.The way things are going I wouldn't be suprised.
  4. (Great just another way for our government to control us.If they don't like what we are doing with our computers,they can shut them down anywhere,anytime.Maybe something as small as a comment like this will be enough to make them shut your computer down in the future.The way things are going I wouldnt be suprised.)


    Agreed are freedoms and control over this country are being taken away slowly but surely.And nobody is doing anything about it.
  5. This reminds me of that other thing Intel did in the past with a processor "unique identifying string" which could be tied to the laptop or computer you bought or worst, your IP address. It was obviously met with strong opposition and was a complete flop.
  6. Laptops are so cheap that it has become a commodity. So why the need for an extreme anti-theft measures like killswitch? When alternatives has been available for quite sometime. I question the idea behind this.
  7. I tend to agree with those who say this technology is a dealbreaker for future Intel CPU purchases. It's a shame, because I could really use Sandy Bridge's performance for x264...but nothing is worth giving a corporate (or governmental) third party the power to remotely shut down my CPU. I am not a fan of being dependent on someone else's benevolence.

    What heartens me is the large proportion of comments on this board that recognize this Trojan horse for what it is. We do not live in a totalitarian country yet, but the control grid and technological infrastructure for such a society is being steadily constructed in the name of security and crime-fighting, and too many are growing to accept it as normal or even demand more of it. That complacent, trusting attitude has worried me for a number of years, but the increasingly cautious and wary (i.e. increasingly responsible) attitude on boards like this makes me more optimistic than I was in the past. As a judge recently commented (I can't remember which judge or which case it regarded), it is now technologically possible for 1984 to become a reality, and so it is our responsibility to ensure things never get that far. Once a control grid has been completed and embraced by the people, we would be largely defenseless against totalitarianism, were it to emerge in full. Hopefully caution will grow faster than the control grid, so such a scenario never comes to pass.
  8. Guest:
    So question,, Is it only the user who has this control? What about the government? Misuse of this by any agency say RIAA. you download an MP3 or what not so they kill the CPU. they have done worse off before. Also would this not be a perfect trick to shutdown the publics ability to share there voice?

    Anonymous: I agree with you a 100%, the misuse of power through out history it is well documented.

    I see even more problems in the near future if the computer companies and government decide to implement this...When I spoke to to a friend a few year back about some disturbing laws in the making and I had a bad feeling about it, he dismissed the theory that it could be done, he said it could not and would not happen, but seen Intel sand bridge I say it is biting our asses right now...I am posting the link below, I also emailed to my friend that said it could not happen and the people would not let it happen...

    I also watched a BBC series called "The Last Enemy" to show through fear and paranoia how government and corporation will be using and abusing the use of this technology, they are exploiting our fears and confusions, this series was made to open peoples eyes for what it is coming our way if we do not make our voices heard loud enough and close our wallet to their product.

    For sure they will be able to silence the voices of Freedom just by turning off the switch on every computer and also our individuality, there will not be in the near future freedom of speech, if we give them this power.

    DRM and kill switch it is the first step to end of liberty, do not for a second be blinded that they are doing this to help us or secure our computers. They could care less about the user and in the long run, we the user will be the losers in this game.

    They would be able to control the internet and it contents, spread misinformation and lies, because my fellow computer user you would not have access to information any more, we would only have access to what they want us to know only.

    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html
  9. One good example is in the link below, how could even affect our war planes, radar and our computer grid. The American government right this moment is looking for kill switch in many of their war toys, if this could send the government into a frenzy imagine what it could be done to us.

    The Link below give you a better insight how dangerous is kill switch...



    http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/design/the-hunt-for-the-kill-switch
  10. History has well-proven that if a feature can be abused, profit-seeking corporations will do so.

    The ability to command shut-down is a useful feature to the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, and investigations concerned with deletion of data or ongoing theft. After determining someone is using P2P, the RIAA/MPAA/BSA could seek a court warrant to require the machine to be disabled so that the evidence cannot be deleted by the perpetrator. With business-friendly laws always being made to increase the rights of corporations (corporations are people too) versus the consumer, it is conceivable that eventually, courts will receive requests to disable the machine of someone using P2P to transfer a copyrighted work on the internet. Since nothing is "harmed", destroyed, or seized, it would need less stringent requirements than obtaining a search warrant. And if the user feels strongly about it, the user could simply file a notorized affidavit and the signed letter from an authorized inspection to have the motherboard and CPU re-enabled.

    Disabling the PC doesn't need the owner to be subscribed to an anti-theft service. Such a subscription is needed only if the owner wants to have his PC disabled if it is stolen. Because the feature is always available, a court order could legitimately command any CPU and its motherboard to be disabled remotely. Eventually, laws can be changed via lobbyists or via changes to ACTA that would relax or eliminate the need for court order since it is beneficial to business prosperity to disable PCs that perform hacking, send P2P packets of copyrighted material, or are bot stations. Since no search or seizure occurs, and nothing is damaged, many concepts of the 4th Amendment might not apply especially if the law changes are implemented via ACTA. Note that once the initial version of ACTA is ratified, further changes to ACTA do not need ratification. The ACTA committee is a set of government representatives and industry representatives that meets to determine and approve changes to ACTA as a response to changing technology. It is important to note that this represents a situation where industry can directly influence both the writing and approval of laws because laws are required to be changed in order to accomodate treaty changes.


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