Just when you thought HP's PatriciaGate couldn't get worse, it does

Summary:It's hurricane season at HP. Groklaw's Pamela Jones writes: The HP story just grew again.

It's hurricane season at HP. Groklaw's Pamela Jones writes:

The HP story just grew again. This is the worst yet. Now it's being reported in the New York Times in an article titled Hewlett Review Is Said to Detail Deeper Spying [sub and cookies req'd] that pretexting isn't the only issue...[According to the New York Times] "Those briefed on the company's review of the operation say detectives tried to plant software on at least one journalist's computer that would enable messages to be traced, and also followed directors and possibly a journalist in an attempt to identify a leaker on the board."

Tried? Talk about spyware of the worst kind (and a good reason that everyone should have a personal firewall that blocks outbound traffic).  Anyway, I'm assuming that means they weren't successful.  But attempting to load spyware onto a system? That could be a serious offense. I wondering what the worst case scenario is here. Dan and I talked about this case last week on the Dan & David Show.  He thinks HP will be able to deflect this without so much as a scratch (given that HP's stock is trading at all time highs and hasn't flinched over this soap opera).  But, I think HP's is in the eye of the storm right now. The company may have weathered the front side of the eye, but, as with any hurricane, the back side of the eye is on its way and HP may not fare so well.

The Times story say CEO Mark Hurd (who is scheduled to take on the role of Chairman once Patricia Dunn steps down in January) viewed the results of the investigation in March. The California AG says he has enough for indictments of insiders at HP. And the lawsuits haven't even started.  I'm not a lawyer, but I'm guessing that there are a lot of potential suits here. There are the media companies Iincluding ZDNet's parent CNET Networks) whose reporters were spied on (I have no inside knowledge whatsoever regarding CNET's legal plans). Then, there are the reporters and HP employees who, on a personal level, can sue as well.  And then, there are the relatives of certain reporters who were impacted too. 

Topics: Hewlett-Packard

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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