How HP is different than Apple

How HP is different than Apple

Summary: On 23 January, 2006 CNet reporters Dawn Kawamoto and Tom Krazit published a story attributed to "a source with the company." The Smoking Gun has posted an 18-page internal HP report detailing the hunt for the corporate leaker...

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TOPICS: Hewlett-Packard
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On 23 January, 2006 CNet reporters Dawn Kawamoto and Tom Krazit published a story ("HP outlines long-term strategy") that detailed HP's plans to improve the technology the company uses to manage its direct sales, its commercial printing efforts and acquisitions of software companies. The story was attributed to "a source with the company."

The Smoking Gun has posted an 18-page internal HP report detailing the hunt for the corporate leaker behind the story. The document was released by the House of Representatives committee examining the company's search, which included obtaining the private phone records for board members and journalists.

The May 24 memo from attorney Kevin Hunsaker, HP's director of ethics, was addressed to the firm's board of directors, CEO Mark Hurd, and Ann Baskins, who was the company's general counsel until her resignation this week.

It's interesting to note, as several of you have pointed out, that HP did not attempt to litigate the journalists or their employer, CNet Networks, Inc. in this case. If this would have been Apple, would they have gone after CNet (or the journos) for their sources? Probably not after Apple's loss in their case against me and Kasper Jade of AppleInsider. But before our case? Maybe.

So although HP didn't sue CNet or the journos, they arguably did something much worse. HP and their agents used social engineering (now called "pretexting") to fraudulently obtain the reporter's private telephone records. Pretexting involves calling the phone company and faking someone's identity to request duplicate copies of their bill. The reporter's private phone records were searched against a list of HP board of directors home and mobile phone numbers. All of these shady tactics are a direct violation of every American citizen's federally-protected right to privacy.

The HP mess morass makes me wonder how far Apple went in their investigation of me. Does Apple hire the same less-than-ethical "security consultants" as HP? I hope not. For their sake.

Topic: Hewlett-Packard

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10 comments
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  • I would hope not

    It would seem that Apple was pretty straight forward with you about trying to get the info on who it was that was doing the leaking. And (as far as anyone knows) they went through legal avenues to do it. I have a lot more respect for Apple than I do HP as far as that goes.
    Shelendrea
    • HP Confidential; Attorney Client Priveleged

      The URL in the article is great. What is going to happen to Charles, Bob, and Rosmarrie? I haven't seen that yet. See page 4. Also note footnote 3 were the author notes that the techniques are "commonly utilized by law firms".

      There is the matter of executive committee. In a proper society meetings of often governed by Roberts Rules of Order http://www.robertsrules.com/

      These rules were designed for groups larger than 8 and if HP used them, then for anything to be considerd confidential, an executive session would have to have been called. This makes it clear to attendees that things are not to be reported to outsiders. Otherwize there is a notion that the meeting was open and because anyone might have attended it can all be discussed. I am always distressed when boards operate under their own rules but other meetings (like shareholder meetings) are RRO.

      As I remember this HP story. Dunn was trying to change the "Director's HandBook" so it was consitant with other company policies. Who was she working with on that?
      mighetto
  • American citizen's Rock; Decline of the American Lawyer

    One of the notions that has been prevalent in the Sciences is the notion of a learning environment. In fact, the Internet was created to help scientists critically review their works. We in the IT industry are part of that scientific endeavor, hence programs in computer science. Science advances not with theories but with the debunking of theories; the demonstration that a notion is false by experimentation.

    The legal community has been trained in the art of story making and story telling. Unlike the scientific communities, they advance their careers with a notion of consistency; the demonstration that a contrary notion can not be proven, and hence the presidents of the past can be followed. They are the religous, the believers. To protect consistancy they seak to seal records of court cases that when read challenge the stories they are paid to support, and they seak a society that does not discuss what is read freely. They use non disclosure agreements, restrictions on publication of benchmark experimental results, and the sleasy thugs that restrict a man or woman from working in the IT industry or advancing an IT career if they dare speak out.

    The Bloggers and Journalists present information and ways of analysing that information which threatens the legal community. There is no need for proof. Instead there is simply the scientific way. The proposing of a theory and the analysis to disprove that theory. Once a theory is disproven the community moves on, generates a new theory and begins to pick that one appart.

    Innovation is hampered by the lawyer mind set. A company like HP, founded and opereated for years by the scientifically minded, innovates until those founders die and lawyers take over. A company like Microsoft, which even in its early years was overly influence by Bill Neukom and Gates Sr - both lawyers, can not.

    Because the science of computing can not advance in the US without free discussion, journalists and Bloggers hold an important and from this article, protected role. I am not surprised that California law is the protector. But I understand that Whistleblowers are also protected. When the vocal can count on their employers being made deals that can not be refused that impact their livelihoods, there is no science, no normative decision making, no competitiveness.

    Americans unlike Europeans can name names. You will note that the WSJ has not been shy about naming the questionable in character. Look for lawyers to try to have that changed. But see also that profession of lawyering is under attach by proper society. How could the sleasiest of legals, Bill Neukom, become president of the American Bar Association? Judge Jackson alerted all lawyers that Microsoft was a criminal organization and Preston Gates and Ellis, the firm Neukom chairs, groomed Abramoff, a name that connotates slease big time.

    BTW, Abramoff news was over shadowed by Foley news this week. I would not put it past Preston Gates and Ellis to have advanced the Foley news over the Abramoff news.

    Frank L. Mighetto CCP
    good morning IT world
    mighetto
  • If Apple had used the same tactics...

    ...there would have been no point in suing you, they'd already have the info they were trying to get out of the lawsuit.
    tic swayback
  • What about the phone company

    " Pretexting involves calling the phone company and faking someone's identity to request duplicate copies of their bill."

    What has the phone company done to protect your information. The phone companies are really reckless with your data, that it common knowledge that one can get information about anyone. One doesnt even have to be good at social engineering to do it.
    zzz1234567890
  • Both equally bad

    "So although HP didn't sue CNet or the journos, they arguably did something much worse. HP and their agents used social engineering (now called "pretexting") to fraudulently obtain the reporter's private telephone records"

    Given the choice between Apple suing me for the shirt off my back and the roof over my house, or HP looking at who I'm calling and who's calling me, I'd take the latter. Sure I don't like either one, but how can you say a few phone records is worse than being sued? That just sounds crazy to me.
    georgeou
    • Fraud is worse

      George -

      While I agree that being sued is bad, at least you know what's happening and there is a rule book.

      It is much worse when a company breaks the law and uses unethical tactics to obtain a person's private information.

      No comparison.
      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
    • Protecting confidential sources

      Jason's lawsuit was about him being unwilling to give up the identity of his confidential sources. What you're saying is that you'd rather have someone break the law and get the name of your source than have to face a tough, lengthy and possibly expensive battle to protect that confidential source. Many journalists have been willing to go to jail to protect their sources. On another subject, you've been putting up with a lot of crap to protect your sources regarding the Apple Wifi exploit fiasco. Would you be happy if I illegally obtained your phone records and announced to the world who your sources were?
      tic swayback
      • No, I'm saying which one is more painful

        "What you're saying is that you'd rather have someone break the law and get the name of your source than have to face a tough, lengthy and possibly expensive battle to protect that confidential source"

        I'm saying the former is far less painful than the latter. I'm not saying which one is right or wrong. Furthermore, you can sick the law on HP
        georgeou
        • "sic"

          ...is how you get someone, like a dog, to attack someone else. "Sick" is how you feel when your stomach is upset.

          But it looks to me as if the law didn't need any "sicing" - they seem to have jumped on this themselves. It was played out pretty publicly. Many prosecutors use the press as an advisory source. If something comes out like this with a lot of publicity, prosecutors will look into it. If they don't, they look weak or biased, and might lose the next election!
          rwahrens1952