The ME is used for the WoL and EEE features of the Intel NICs.
(EEE is Intel's energy efficient ethernet, allowing it to keep TCP sockets open even if the main processor is asleep).
Additionally, the ME builds its own network connections.
It's also why I stopped using any and all Intel NICs, they ended up resetting every few seconds if the ME was partially disabled.
I thought I might be safe with an APU-2 device as a firewall (AMD chip, don't know if they have the same arrangement with the five-eyes), but Intel NICs.
Guess the motto is, use paper and lead pencils for anything really important. And turn wifi off.
Then you get the NSA, the ASD, the rest of the clowns coming in and ruining it, and what is the point? Are we all just fighting each other in an ape war?
I thought we were better.