News Focus: HP's leak probe

An investigation into leaks of corporate secrets authorized by HP Chairman Patricia Dunn apparently went too far.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

In order to track down the source of company leaks to the media, former Hewlett-Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn hired a firm that used pretexting or posing as a customer to obtain phone records of HP board members, nine journalists and two employees. It worked--but it has cost Dunn her position at HP, at least five are facing jail terms, and Congress is involved--just before an election, no less.
The original News.com article that prompted the leak investigation.

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6123054.html" rel="follow">Dunn to surrender Thursday

Four of the five people facing charges in HP spying case are set to turn themselves in soon.
October 5, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6122838.html" rel="follow">Calif. AG files felony charges in HP probe

Attorney general calls former Chairman Patricia Dunn 'catalyst' for HP leak hunt and say others could be charged.
Video: Five face criminal charges in HP scandal
Video: California AG: HP 'lost its way'
Photos: Criminal charges for HP players
October 4, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6122362.html" rel="follow">HP investigator twice raised objections

After first warning, Vince Nye sent another e-mail saying that obtaining outsiders' phone records didn't pass smell test. October 3, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6122254.html" rel="follow">Dunn gave phone numbers to PIs

Documents offer new details of HP's leak hunt, including info Patricia Dunn shared with private investigators. October 3, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6121338.html" rel="follow">Cingular sues over HP pretexting

The wireless carrier's lawsuit is aimed at those responsible for obtaining the phone records of a CNET News.com reporter in an HP probe. September 29, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1009_22-6121048.html" rel="follow">How HP bugged e-mail

Commercial online service was used to track e-mail sent to a reporter in Hewlett-Packard's leak probe, investigator testifies.
Images: ReadNotify's tracking service
September 28, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6120939.html" rel="follow">Hurd: HP's founders would be appalled

In testimony to Congress on Thursday, Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd said he wishes he had asked more questions.
September 28, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6120715.html" rel="follow">HP memos shed light on past pretexting

Internal documents say HP has pretexted before and that its investigators trailed a reporter while on vacation.
September 28, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6120625.html" rel="follow">HP witnesses exercise the Fifth

Politicians lash out at company. First round of witnesses exercise their Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer questions.
Video: Hurd takes the hot seat
Video: Hearing: CNET reporter as target
Video: Exec: HP traces personal e-mail
Video: Pattie Dunn testifies
Video: Congresswoman blasts HP spying
Video: HP spying angers Oregon Republican
September 28, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6120551.html" rel="follow">Top HP lawyer quits

Ann Baskins, who spent most of her career there, was implicated in the leak investigation scandal.
September 28, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6120532.html" rel="follow">Key to credibility with lawyers

All eyes will be on venerable Philadelphia law firm as it continues to investigate controversial leak hunt.
Second HP employee issued probe warning
HP's Hurd has board's support, director says
September 27, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6120509.html" rel="follow">HP in for hard time at hearing

With elections coming up, congressional subcommittee likely to make an example of HP for the spying tactics it used.
September 27, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6120365.html" rel="follow">Dunn says others supervised probe

Investigators tried to draw a connection between a board member and the father of a CNET News.com reporter.
Two HP employees depart amid leak probeing
Out of the shadows, a pretexter's tale
Five questions for HP
House panel subpoenas two HP execs
September 27, 2006

="" href="http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/index.php?p=3662" rel="follow">What California's AG didn't say

David Berlind: California attorney general says HP's Bill Hurd looks to be in the clear at the moment. But he was quiet on the subject of Patricia Dunn.
September 25, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6118680.html" rel="follow">HP chairman resigns, CEO confirms knowledge of probe

CEO Mark Hurd takes over chairman's post as Patricia Dunn resigns from a board grappling with scandal.
Photos: Mark Hurd's press conference
Press conference: Inventory of gory details
Hurd claims 'isolated incidents of impropriety'
September 22, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6118475.html" rel="follow">Calif. AG: No Hurd evidence

Bill Lockyer says his office is in the middle of its investigation and would go "up the corporate chain."
Charles Cooper: Bring back the HP Way, Mr. Hurd
David Berlind: Truth is stranger than fiction
September 22, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6118330.html" rel="follow">HP probed 3rd CNET reporter, family

Investigators tried to draw a connection between a board member and the father of a CNET News.com reporter.
September 21, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6118249.html" rel="follow">HP announces broader SEC inquiry

Company also reaches pact with former directors Perkins and Keyworth, who stepped down amid the ongoing saga.
September 21, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6117944.html" rel="follow">HP CEO linked to journalist probe

E-mails link Mark Hurd for the first time to the company's controversial internal investigation of leaks to the news media.
Dan Farber: Will Mark Hurd survive HPGate unscathed?
September 20, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6117885.html" rel="follow">HP board meets amid probe scandal

Board meeting comes amid widening controversy over the tactics used in a probe into media leaks, CNET News.com has learned.
HP's Dunn toasted at gala dinner
September 20, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6117714.html" rel="follow">Perkins: Pretexting dates don't match

When did the company begin targeting reporters' records? Some accounts of the start date don't match up.
September 20, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6117497.html" rel="follow">HP targeted reporters earlier

The personal phone records of two News.com reporters were targeted prior to the publishing of story that detailed boardroom planning.
David Berlind: Spyware surveillance ought to be illegal
Russell Shaw: Move over, CIA--here comes HP
September 19, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6117192.html" rel="follow">House aide: Dunn, Baskins, Sonsini

Hewlett-Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn and General Counsel Ann Baskins are expected to testify at a congressional hearing later this month.
September 19, 2006

="" href="/2100-1035_22-6116013.html" rel="follow">HP scandal reviving pretexting legislation

The HP leak story shows how remarkably easy it was to unearth someone else's phone records, so politicians vowed quick action on new legislation.
September 15, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6116447.html" rel="follow">HP spokesman targeted in leak probe

After initial interest subsided, politicians turn their attention back to dealing with accessing other people's phone records.
September 15, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6115509.html" rel="follow">HP leak probe extended to employees

In an apology to employees, Chairman Patricia Dunn notes that two HP workers were also targeted.
Charles Cooper: What the HP affair really says about privacy
Russell Shaw: Is the media too soft with Dunn?
September 13, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6115052.html" rel="follow">Calif. AG hints charges within a week

Attorney general says he has enough evidence to indict Hewlett-Packard personnel and hired contractors.
September 13, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6114655.html" rel="follow">Dunn to exit as HP chairman

Patricia Dunn had launched an investigation into a media leaks that resulted in a firestorm of controversy and potential lawsuits.
Josh Greenbaum: Did Dunn overdo it? Ask Larry Ellison
September 12, 2006

="" href="/2100-9595_22-6114216.html" rel="follow">House, U.S. attorney probing HP

A House of Representatives committee and the Department of Justice each investigate the methods Hewlett-Packard used to nab the source of media leaks.
September 11, 2006

="" href="http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=3588" rel="follow">Where else is pre-texting happening?

David Berlind: I estimate the chances that similar inquisitions have been conducted by other companies at about, oh, 100 percent...
September 12, 2006

="" href="/2100-9584_22-6114023.html" rel="follow">HP board mum on Dunn's fate

Hewlett-Packard's board of directors met for several hours but held off making a decision on the fate of Chairman Patricia Dunn until Monday at the earliest.
September 10, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6113715.html" rel="follow">Use of pretexting 'embarrassing'

HP Chairman Patricia Dunn says she's not happy with the way the investigation was conducted calling it an embarrassment and said the use of pretexting is wrong.
HP memo: We will take the necessary action
FAQ: The HP 'pretexting' scandal
September 8, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6113919.html" rel="follow">HP probe snared News.com reporters

Nine reporters, including three from CNET News.com, had their phone records searched during the HP leak investigation.
September 8, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6113797.html" rel="follow">Time for HP to clean house

Charles Cooper: In a move that recalls the silliest days of the Nixon White House, HP spied on its own board members--and on reporters, too.
Richard Stiennon: Chair ball at HP
Russell Shaw: I have a problem
September 8, 2006

="" href="http://n.cbsimg.net/pdf/ne/2006/perkins_letter.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">Thomas Perkin's letter to HP's board

Read former board member Thomas Perkins' scathing letter to HP's board of directors explaining that he quit in protest of the methods the company used to investigate a leak. (pdf)
September 7, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6113173.html" rel="follow">California's top cop on 'pretexting'

California's attorney general confirms that his office has issued subpoenas and is investigating Hewlett-Packard's leak investigation.
September 7, 2006

="" href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6112501.html" rel="follow">Media leaks prompt HP board shake-up

Hewlett-Packard launched an investigation of its own board members that caused one director to resign and is reportedly leading to another not being renominated to the position.
Dan Farber: HP's misguided witchhunt
September 5, 2006

NOTE: Three of the nine journalists who were investigated by HP work for News.com, which is published by CNET Networks--ZDNet's parent company.

Editorial standards