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Friday, March 12, 1999

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  • Intel: Privacy and Monopoly

    Intel Corporation’s new Pentium III microprocessor was recently released, and computers containing the new chip are now available in stores. Those who welcome the arrival of the Pentium III cite its ability to improve the performance of multimedia applications such as speech recognition and streaming audio and video. Critics, however, raise concerns over the chip’s most controversial feature: a Processor Serial Number, or P.S.N., which is embedded in the Pentium III. The computer version of a social security number, the P.S.N. makes it possible to track individual machines while they are online. Intel claims that a security feature allows the user the option of turning off the P.S.N.

  • Ecuadorian Economic Crisis

    Ecuadorians today are bracing for tough economic measures designed by the government to bring the nation back from the brink of chaos, including fuel price hikes and freezes on many bank deposits. Banks remain closed today for the seventh day, after Ecuadorian President Jamil Mahuad this week declared a Bank Holiday to stem a massive run on bank deposits sparked by a large plunge in the currency’s value, known as the "sucre" (SOO-CRAY). The country’s oil and banana exporting economy has sunk into the worst crisis in 50 years amid a mix of bad weather and weak oil prices. Businesses and public transportation remain closed across Ecuador.

  • The Biotic Baking Brigade

    As Democracy Now! reported yesterday, a group known as the Biotic Baking Brigade hit Chevron CEO Ken Derr in the face this Wednesday with three pies in protest for his company’s involvement in the killing of activists in Nigeria, as well as for polluting California’s northern coast. The brigade has targeted numerous other "corporate bad guys," including the CEO’s of bioengineering companies Monsanto and Novartis, economist Milton Friedman and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. For that "pieing," three members of the brigade are now serving a six-month prison sentence.