Use Of Pretexting Was Embarrassing… Or Getting Caught Was Embarrassing?

from the looks-like-it-was-the-getting-caught-part dept

As the HP board spying scandal continues to get worse, HP’s chairwoman, Patricia Dunn has finally spoken out publicly on the matter, saying that the use of pretexting for board members and reporters has been a “major embarrassment.” After being quiet for a few days, that’s all she can come up with? She also refused to resign, but says if the board wants her to, she will. However, her statements highlight how problematic the situation really is. She continues to distance herself from the problem. Just as the company originally tried to make it out that the leak of info was worse than illegally obtaining records by pretending to be someone else, Dunn isn’t taking any responsibility for the scandal at all. She claims that she wasn’t spying on the board, because she had the backing of the board in the investigation — even though this contradicts the statements of other board members. She says she’s not happy, but she called for the investigation, despite a huge number of more pressing priorities. She says she doesn’t even know the name of the investigating firm, saying she had people at the company hire it for her. She says she believed that the investigating company had been told that “everything done would be not only legal but fully compliant with HP’s high standards for both ethics and business practices,” but she knew about the use of pretexting much earlier than this. She knew about it in May when she exposed the board member who leaked, and Tom Perkins specifically called her out on the use of it. If she’s embarrassed now, it’s not because of the use of pretexting, which Perkins made clear to her was “illegal, unethical, and a misplaced corporate priority.” If she were embarrassed back then, she would have apologized then. Instead, it certainly appears that the embarrassment is about being caught and having this info exposed. Yes, she should be embarrassed, but so should HP’s shareholders and employees to discover how their board has handled this mess. Update: And just to make this more fun, California’s Attorney General is now saying that criminal charges are likely going to be filed concerning the spying. They just want to complete their investigation. Update 2: And, now the FCC is getting involved as well.

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Comments on “Use Of Pretexting Was Embarrassing… Or Getting Caught Was Embarrassing?”

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Beefcake says:


…or whatever the hell it’s called actually proved useful in this case. You know this isn’t the first Type-A personality in a boardroom to resort to underhanded or illegal methods to handle snits. It’s fun to watch the so-called leaders of industry fart and pick their noses and have it broadcast all over the world.

Also makes me wonder what HP is doing to get dirt on the ink-cartridge refillers of the world– I’ll bet the investigation firm they used for this is involved in that too.

Anonymous Coward says:

As a stockholder and IT Operations Manager..

I’ve dumped my HP stock, not only due to this but for various other reasons as well. I’ve personally sent a letter to Patricia Dunn about the decision, and that she has personally and professionally lost my business (a small but growing subcompany of a fortune 200 company). Her actions also conflict with my companies ethics policies and while I doubt it’d be a dent (only about 5 to 10 servers a year), it is certainly a statement. (Never mind that we have been migrating to Sun for the past couple of quarters) As far as stock goes, this is more the straw that broke the camels back, but still.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: As a stockholder and IT Operations Manager..

Speaking of sending an email, while I’m not going to publish it, it won’t be hard to find if you would like to send one yourself. there are numerous SEC, Corporate Stock and Investor Relation reports with most of the board’s contact information. If you do though, be polite and state your point. Yelling, cussing and the like tend to be deleted and do nothing to prove your points. As deluted as she is, however, I doubt she would even care.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t get it – if pretexting isn’t illegal, then why didn’t the attorney general in charge of finding out who leaked Valerie Plame’s identity to the media use this technique? Maybe he did, but it would seem out of place to ‘pretend’ to be someone else to gain access to privileged information. Seems a little more like ‘social engineering’, in the hacker sense of the words, to me.

Ida B. Wells says:

Thanks a lot...

Unfortunately, these kinds of actions validate people’s views in their own mind about what women can and can’t do.

It’s ironic that women do some of the most damage to the womens lib front. If a man were at the center of this, he would just be a stupid CEO. Because its not, people will say she did it because she is an incompetent woman. Which isn’t untrue, she is incompetent and she is a woman, but that doesn’t make women incompetent. She is just an idiot.

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