Gates promotes MS' security tech

Wednesday, 7 May 2003, 10:09 AM EST

Consumers shouldn't be worried that Microsoft's new security technology will wrest control of their PCs and give it to media companies, Bill Gates said Tuesday. They can always choose not to use it, he said.

The Microsoft co-founder expects consumers as well as governments and businesses to embrace the system, which hard-wires security into silicon chips rather than just software. It's designed to offer unprecedented levels of protection against hacking and eavesdropping.

"This is a mechanism that if people want to use, for example, to protect medical records, they can use it," Gates said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's a lot of work to do this stuff, and we think consumers will want those privacy guarantees. If they don't want them, then fine, ask me about our other work."

The technology has raised eyebrows not only for the absolute control it would grant such creators of digital content as music and movie companies but also because it is being driven by Microsoft, which has a reputation for strong-arming the computer industry.

Gates spoke about the technology, known officially as the "Next Generation Secure Computing Base," at the 12th annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, where developers were getting their first look at it.

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