Obama and Snowden’s Gift to Intel


This week Intel is putting forth a wide range of new products and while most of the attention is on processing power and improved energy management, the new Haswell chips also have key security functionality built into the chip.   And who would imagine its dream marketing team would include President Obama and Edward Snowden, neither of whom will require either a W-2 or a 1099.

It was back in 1995 when Bill Gates of Microsoft told Andy Grove, Intel CEO at the time, that it would not permit Intel to continue with its Native Signal Processing or NSP  project designed to enhance security at the chip level.  “We do the software” he famously insisted to Andy Grove as the project was subsequently scrapped.

Move the clock forward almost 20 years and Intel has returned to this area in a big way, beginning with its purchase of software giant McAfee.

Some may argue that privacy is dead and that computer users simply won’t see the benefit of having these new security features on the chip.    My sense is just the opposite, that users will pay a premium for the added security because both President Obama and Edward Snowden are highlighting the key differences  between the notion of “privacy” with that of “security.”

Users may not care that google is data mining emails on behalf of advertisers, clearly a privacy issue.   They will more likely care about the legions of hackers able to penetrate windows with ease and collect credit card data and other sensitive information.    A rather easy task, as detailed in Edward Snowden’s revelations about security in general.