Intel is looking to release an anti-theft technology for laptops - although the company is keeping schtum about the precise details.

The new capability, which will be called Intel Anti-Theft Technology, is to be added to Intel's Active Management Technology, part of Centrino vPro and allows IT managers to remotely access and configure computers.

In the event of theft, the technology will "basically lock the system, lock the disk, so people cannot be maliciously using and getting the data," said Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobility Group, at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shanghai.

Earlier this week, Absolute Software made public that its Computrace tracking system was being adopted by Intel, which might explain at least part of the news.

Coincidentally, the same system was used this week to catch alleged laptop thieves at a US airport.

The technology, which appears to render both the processor and storage inaccessible, aims to ease concerns over valuable corporate or personal data falling into the wrong hands when laptops are lost or stolen, according to Perlmutter.

The problem of lost data on stolen and missing laptops is a long-standing problem and a growing concern, particular for its impact on personal data.

In December 2006, Boeing reported the theft of a laptop that contained Social Security numbers, names and home addresses of 382,000 current and former employees. The laptop was stolen from an employee's car, the company said. The incident was particularly noteworthy because it pushed the number of US data breach victims past the 100 million mark - nearly one-third of the population at that time.

Besides Intel, several other companies are working on the anti-theft technology, including Lenovo Group, McAfee, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Phoenix Technologies.

More details of the technology will be made available when it is closer to being released, Intel said.

Additional reporting by John E. Dunn, Techworld.