September 20, 2006

as the stomach turns

Given the apparent depth of the mud piling up around the HP Board's long-running leak investigation/scandal, I'm not going to make any comments other than to say that news like this ("Extensive Spying Found at HP", WashPo 9/20/06) absolutely makes me ill.

The Feb. 10 report, obtained by The Washington Post, summarized in eight pages how investigators, to identify an internal leak of confidential HP information, surreptitiously followed HP board member George A. Keyworth II while he was giving a lecture at the University of Colorado. They watched his home in Piedmont, Calif. They used photographs of a reporter to see if the reporter met with him. And they tried to recover a laptop computer stolen from him in Italy so they could analyze its contents.

The report, prepared by a consulting firm in Needham, Mass., hired to investigate leaks to the media, was sent to four HP executives, including HP's ethics director. That suggests that senior HP employees were aware of the spying tactics used as early as February.

...The report described how investigators sent an e-mail to a reporter for the online technology publication that contained spyware software in an attached file. If opened, the attachment was designed to install itself on her computer and track every keystroke.

I feel betrayed.

Oh, and I just noticed the NY Times is reporting the following, based on emails it obtained from an unnamed source:

Concern over legality was reflected in an e-mail message sent on Jan. 30 by Mr. Hunsaker, the chief ethics officer, to Mr. Gentilucci, the manager of global investigations. Referring to a private detective in the Boston area, Ronald R. DeLia, whom the company had hired, he asked: “How does Ron get cell and home phone records? Is it all above board?”

Mr. Gentilucci responded that Mr. DeLia, the owner of Security Outsourcing Solutions, had investigators “call operators under some ruse.”

He also wrote: “I think it is on the edge, but above board. We use pretext interviews on a number of investigations to extract information and/or make covert purchases of stolen property, in a sense, all undercover operations.”

Mr. Hunsaker’s e-mail response, in its entirety, said: “I shouldn’t have asked....”

If true, then "I shouldn't have asked" doesn't begin to describe it, does it?

Posted by Gene at September 20, 2006 9:33 AM | TrackBack