California Attorney General Charges HP Insiders in Spy Probe
October 5, 2006 1:22 AM
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The HP spying scandal is now a criminal case!
California Attorney General filed felony charges on Patricia Dunn and four others
stemming from an illegal investigation into Hewlett-Packard's boardroom leaks. Kevin Hunsaker, former HP senior attorney and ethics director, was charged with three outside investigators, Matthew DePante, Bryan Wagner, and Ronald DeLia. Each person is facing four felony charges – unauthorized access to computer data, identity theft, the use of false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information, and conspiracy charges. Mark Hurd, current Chief Executive Officer of HP, is not being charged at this time.
Hunsaker was the leader of the team that was used by Dunn to find the media leaks. According to official documents, Hunsaker was fully aware that deception was used to gather information. DeLia, the operator of Security Outsourcing Solutions, was told to work alongside Dunn during the investigation.
Speculation about possible charges have been circulating for several weeks now.
Dunn resigned after the scandal broke
several weeks ago. Her attorney recently said, “These charges are being brought against the wrong person at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.” Several other high ranking HP officials
have also been publically humiliated because of the case
The controversy started after it was unveiled that HP hired a company who used pretexting – a practice that involves obtaining phone records through deception – while trying to discover who was leaking boardroom information to the media.
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10/5/2006 8:51:50 AM
1. Are there any federal laws that would trump the California law? If so, the defense teams could contend that Dunn et al were following federal laws.
2. This can't bode well for Mark Hurd. Right now he's playing the Sgt Schultz defense: "I see nothingk! I hear nothingk!"
That itself begs the question whether HP needs a CEO that's out of touch with his own board.
RE: 2 Issues
10/5/2006 9:09:16 AM
I see something wrong with this picture: It's ok for the US Government to spy on you, but obtaining information about employees who may be hurting your business's bottom line isn't ok.
At least the HP CEO didn't ask the taxpayer to fund the investigation (FBI tracking priates for something like 3 years then making an arrest). Let's keep civil matters..CIVIL. The government has NO businesss in a business that looks after themselves.
RE: 2 Issues
10/5/2006 10:07:07 AM
I believe the term you're looking for is vigilante, and yes there is a difference between what the government is mandated to do and private individuals/citizens (not that I condone the government's recent and increasing Constitutional violations). HP's actions violated more than just HP personnel, it also includes outsiders whom those reporters contacted. And since these were tech reporters, might it even be the case of HP conducting corporate espionage against competitors in the industry?
The biggest problem I see here is the evidence that Mark Hurd obviously authorized this, or at minimum was aware and let it go on, and his "I don't recall" response isn't supposed to fly anymore under the new Sarbanes-Oxley laws. I'm not sure that the state of Claifornia can invoke SO, though -- that might need federal charges.
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