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

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.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hewlett-Packard
5

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. 

Topic: Hewlett-Packard

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

5 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • US congress requires naming of the two firms that helped Dunn

    The author is correct, this story will hit the fans big time. It has all the elements of Martha Stewart's case and more. Dunn has no place in any US corporation as an officer or director. HPs Director's and Officers insurance doesn't likely cover such obvious criminal acts. As soon as the Spinich e-coli story settles, my hope is for fireworks.
    mighetto
    • The Back of the Sled

      My read is that Hurd has been calling the shots and Dunn is taking the blame (not a fall, mind) and in fact the two of them are using this affair to get the bylaws changed to put Hurd in total control.

      HP has used the classic strategy of getting enough bodies in the chain between the one who called the shots (Hurd) and the dope who sent the Trojan that nobody (with the possible exception of the last patsy) will have enough stick to cost them anything.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • PatsyGate? a classic American conspiracy.

        There is a classic strategy? Argh, I am so sheltered.

        So Patricia Dunn has been taken care of just like the mob might hire someone to confess to a crime he/she didn't do to cover for others. Lets call this what it is - a plan to do evil - a classic American conspiracy. The only thing not yet connected is a tie to Bill Neukom, Abramoff, Microsoft and the American Bar Association.

        HP must fire Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, all HP corporate inhouse legal staff and any others with even the appearance of impropriety. This is what Paul Allen did when there was a possibility of drugs being sold/smuggled on his yacht. I would expect HPs Director's and Officers insurance company to require such action. Colateral damage - of course - but heads must roll on this one and I think all have been paid for the risk that something like this would happen. Lets now think about coverup. What is being covered up that would justify the risk of getting caught?
        mighetto
    • HP Director of Ethics implicated

      Kevin Hunsaker, a senior counsel who is the company?s director of ethics needs to be fired immediately and it is my understanding that he will be disbarred. It is hard to find a worse lawyer than Bill Neukom, but here we may have found exactly that. If Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati really are not responsible then they should be heading up the clean-up crew. They have a responsiblity to their profession for self regulation. Plus, lets get real, they still look guilty.

      Lets all recognize that US corportate ethics are designed to allow officers to behave in ways unacceptable in polite society and that without whistleblowers like Keyworth and presses like C-net all is lost. What bothers me most is that Dunn and Hurd (lets not think the CEO uninvolved) did this even after wide publicity involving the Enron case. Of course Florida is involved!! Where is Florina's book?

      Frank L. Mighetto CCP
      mighetto
  • Campaign against ...........gate

    Please can someone run a major campaign to stop the use of .....gate. It seems centuries ago since Watergate but the media uses every opportunity to add "gate" to the title of any report of dubious activity. I am sure very many are utterly fed up with this word.
    misceng