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HP investigators hacked reporters' phone data

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  • Alfred
    `Pretexting scandal at high-tech firm extends outside board room In an effort to track down the source of information leaks by Hewlett-Packard Co. insiders,
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 8, 2006
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      `Pretexting' scandal at high-tech firm extends outside board room

      In an effort to track down the source of information leaks by
      Hewlett-Packard Co. insiders, private investigators working for the
      company obtained reporters' telephone records without permission,
      the company told MSNBC.com on Thursday.

      The reporters' records were accessed as part of a private
      investigation into news leaks that was initiated by company
      Chairwoman Patricia Dunn.

      The investigators got the records by impersonating journalists from
      the Wall Street Journal, CNET.com and other news organizations in a
      practice known as "pretexting," the company said.

      HP spokesman Michael Moeller said that "there are other journalists"
      whose records were improperly accessed, but would not say how many
      others were involved.

      "HP is absolutely dismayed that the records of journalists were
      accessed without their knowledge," he said. "We are completely and
      fully cooperating with the state attorney general's investigation
      into HP and this incident."

      Earlier Thursday, CNET.com and the Wall Street Journal published
      stories indicating their reporters had been contacted by the
      California Attorney General's Office and told their telephone
      records had been accessed by unauthorized individuals connected to
      the company.

      "CNET Networks takes this situation most seriously," spokeswoman
      Sarah Cain said. "These actions not only violated the privacy rights
      of our employee, but also the rights of all reporters to protect
      their confidential sources."

      Robert Christie, spokesman for Dow Jones, which owns the Wall Street
      Journal, said the newspaper would not comment on its story.

      A spokesman for the California Attorney General's Office, Tom
      Dresslar, said he couldn't comment on ongoing investigations.
      Dresslar also declined to comment on Moeller's assertion that other
      reporters may have been targeted.

      In its story, CNET said it was told by an investigator at the
      attorney general's office that HP had provided a "partial list of
      reporters names whose phone records may have been compromised."
      Cain said she didn't know how many reporters were on that list.

      News of boardroom intrigue at HP broke earlier this week in Newsweek
      with a story that detailed a messy spying episode inside the
      company. Newsweek reported that Dunn had ordered an investigation of
      other members of the company's Board of Directors in an effort to
      find out who was giving information anonymously to reporters.

      The Newsweek story indicated that the investigation was initiated by
      Dunn, who was irked by a story published in January by CNET reporter
      Dawn Kawamoto that provided details of a board-members-only
      meeting.

      The investigation was thorough. Kawamoto's home telephone records
      were obtained, even though her phone is in her husband's name, CNET
      reported.

      But the pattern of obtaining reporters' records may stretch further
      back. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that reporter Pui-
      Wing Tam had been contacted by the California Attorney General's
      Office with information suggesting she may have been the target of
      pretexting.

      Tam, the newspaper indicated, broke an important story about former
      CEO Carly Fiorina and her disagreements with board members. Fiorina
      resigned from HP in early 2005.

      Moeller refused to say what period of time the pretexting activity
      covered.

      "We're not giving out any more information at this time," he said.

      In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on
      Wednesday, HP acknowledged that its agents used pretexting to obtain
      board members' personal telephone records. Pretexting involves
      hacking into a consumers' telephone records by impersonating the
      consumer, and tricking customer service representatives or Web sites
      into divulging the personal information.

      Thursday's developments indicate that the pretexting extended
      outside the board room. Journalists' telephone records would
      readily indicate which board members were communicating with
      reporters.

      After a blogger purchased Gen. Wesley Clark's phone records last
      year from a pretexter, a media firestorm ensued, and Congressional
      hearings were held examining the practice.

      Pretexting runs afoul of federal law — specifically, the Federal
      Trade Commission Act, which bans deceptive trade practices.

      Late Thursday, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer told the
      Associated Press that the HP investigation violated two California
      state laws: California's identity theft statutes, which make it
      illegal to use someone else's personal information to commit a
      crime, and the state's computer crime laws, which make unauthorized
      access to databases illegal.

      "The question was, was a crime committed? The answer is yes. Does
      that mean charges will result? Well, we haven't completed the
      investigation so we're not yet certain as to who committed the
      crime," Lockyer said. ""It's likely if evidence continues to come in
      the way it has that there will be a prosecution," he said. "But
      we're not ready to go file a complaint. We're still investigating."
    • Alfred
      HP s Patricia Dunn to step down in January George Keyworth, who was singled out in press leak probe, also quits Dunn done as HP chairman Sept. 12: Chairman
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 12, 2006
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        HP's Patricia Dunn to step down in January
        George Keyworth, who was singled out in press leak probe, also quits

        Dunn done as HP chairman
        Sept. 12: Chairman Patricia Dunn will step down in January because of
        the corporate spying scandal. "On the Money's" Dylan Ratigan conducts
        a roundtable discussion on the moves.

        Ms. Dunn should be fired immediately. Then, she and the rest of her
        board should be tried for crimes against the employees of HP. I am
        willing to bet that HP has in their mission statement something about
        being ethical. LOL. Oh, and just so you folks at HP know, I am now
        adding you to my official boycott list.

        SAN JOSE, Calif. - Hewlett-Packard Co. said Tuesday that Patricia
        Dunn will step down as chairwoman of the computer and printer maker
        in January amid a widening scandal involving a possibly illegal probe
        into media leaks. She will be succeeded by CEO Mark Hurd.

        Hurd will retain his existing positions as chief executive and
        president and Dunn will remain as a director after she relinquishes
        the chair on Jan. 18.

        "I am taking action to ensure that inappropriate investigative
        techniques will not be employed again. They have no place in HP,"
        Hurd said in a statement.

        Dunn apologized for the techniques used in the company's probe, which
        included "pretexting," in which private investigators impersonated
        board members and journalists to acquire their phone records.

        "Unfortunately, the investigation, which was conducted with third
        parties, included certain inappropriate techniques. These went beyond
        what we understood them to be, and I apologize that they were
        employed," Dunn said in a statement.

        Also Tuesday, George Keyworth II, the HP director singled out for
        leaking information to the press, resigned from the company's board
        effective immediately.

        The pressure on Dunn to step down began rising sharply Monday when
        Congress and federal investigators entered the fray surrounding HP's
        possibly illegal probe of media leaks. The FBI, the U.S. Attorney for
        Northern California and the House Energy and Commerce Committee all
        joined the California attorney general and Securities and Exchange
        Commission in probing the scandal swirling around HP's Board of
        Directors.

        California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said his office has enough
        evidence to obtain indictments of people within Hewlett-Packard Co.
        and of hired contractors, after the company disclosed questionable
        tactics in a boardroom leak investigation.

        "We currently have sufficient evidence to indict people both within
        HP as well as contractors on the outside," Lockyer said in an
        interview aired Tuesday on the Public Broadcasting Service's NewsHour
        with Jim Lehrer.

        "Crimes have been committed," Lockyer said. "People's identities
        being taken falsely is a crime. People gaining access to computer
        records that have personal information, in California, that's a
        crime."

        Dunn, a former freelance journalist, was angry about the media leaks
        and commissioned an unnamed outside firm to identify their source.
        They used Social Security numbers and other personal information to
        get phone companies to turn over detailed logs of home phone calls of
        reporters and board members.

        Although frequently used by private investigators, the tactic tests
        the bounds of state and federal law.

        HP's board met for a second time Monday night to discuss whether Dunn
        should remain chairwoman of the Silicon Valley giant.

        Richard Hackborn, who has served on the board since 1992, will become
        lead independent director in January.

        Dunn's entanglement in the pretexting scandal marks a rare stumble
        for one of the most powerful women in corporate America.

        Dunn, then CEO of Barclays Global Investors, joined HP's board in
        1998 and became chairwoman in 2005, taking an active role in running
        the 11th largest company on the Fortune 500.

        She oversaw the ouster of former HP CEO and Chairwoman Carleton
        Fiorina in February 2005, and two months later introduced Hurd as
        Fiorina's successor.

        Hurd wasn't well known on Wall Street or in the financial media
        before taking the reins of HP. But he enjoyed a solid a reputation
        among business experts as a no-nonsense cost cutter familiar with
        nearly every facet of management. HP shares surged 10 percent the day
        his appointment was announced.

        He was previously chief executive at Dayton, Ohio-based NCR Corp., a
        computer services company best known for its ATM machines.

        At HP he orchestrated a cost-cutting campaign that, when it winds
        down later this quarter, will have resulted in as many as 15,000
        layoffs. But morale had been noticeably higher under Hurd than
        Fiorina — until details of the company's leak investigation were
        disclosed last week.

        Although it marks a dark chapter in the company's history, HP could
        benefit from having Hurd consolidate his power, said Roger Kay,
        president of the market research firm Endpoint Technologies
        Associates.

        "It makes perfect sense to give (Hurd) the chairmanship," he
        said. "He has the character, personality and chops to do it. I can't
        think of anyone else you would want to run the company at this point."

        The leak investigation at HP began with a January article on CNET
        Network Inc.'s News.com that included a quotation from an anonymous
        HP source who described a gathering of HP directors at a posh spa in
        Southern California.

        At a board meeting in May, Dunn identified director George Keyworth
        II as CNET's source, as well as the source of other leaks dating to
        early 2005. The board asked Keyworth, 66, to resign, but he refused.
        HP then barred him from seeking re-election.

        His ouster riled another board member, longtime Silicon Valley
        venture capitalist Tom Perkins, 74, who resigned and stormed out of
        the May 18 meeting.

        Perkins' attorney later discovered that private investigators had
        obtained the last four digits of his client's social security number.
        They used that information to open an online account with AT&T, then
        called the telephone company and impersonated Perkins, asking for a
        record of phone calls to and from his house.

        HP's investigators also obtained the phone records of several
        journalists, including those who work at The Wall Street Journal,
        BusinessWeek, The New York Times and News.com.

        Keyworth, who has acknowledged talking to the media, was the former
        science adviser to President Reagan and director of the Physics
        Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

        On Tuesday, Dunn defended the need for the investigation.

        "These leaks had the potential to affect not only the stock price of
        HP but also that of other publicly traded companies," she said.

        California's attorney general has already said HP's probe broke two
        California laws governing identity theft illegal access to computer
        records. It's still unclear, however, whether the company or anyone
        acting on its behalf will face civil or criminal charges.

        FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said in an interview Monday with The
        Associated Press that the bureau opened its probe Monday and was
        investigating two possible crimes: illegal computer intrusion and
        wiretapping.

        "When allegations of a federal crime are brought to the FBI's
        attention we have to make a determination whether we'll initiate an
        investigation," Pistole said. "Obviously if the U.S. Attorney has
        reviewed information and believes there is something for the FBI to
        investigate, we'll work closely (together)."

        He did not give a timetable for when the inquiry would be completed.

        The U.S. Attorney's Office issued a statement saying it
        was "investigating the processes employed in an investigation into
        possible sources of leaks."

        The Congressional committee gave HP a week to name the private firm
        it hired to investigate the leaks and to turn over all "records and
        information related to the company's reported effort to obtain
        private phone records." The request was made as part of the panel's
        ongoing investigation into pretexting.

        The federal investigation further complicates the situation for HP,
        experts said.

        "It opens the company to more scrutiny on a broader and more powerful
        level," said Ken Sukhia, a former U.S. Attorney in Tallahassee, Fla.

        Still, investors have largely ignored the scandal. HP shares were
        trading this week near the top end of its 52-week range of $25.53 to
        $36.73.

        "It's certainly embarrassing," said Martin Reynolds, vice president
        of the research firm Gartner Inc. "And it's obviously not the best
        press, but the good news is this is pretty much divorced from the day-
        to-day operations of HP."














        --- In infoguys-list@yahoogroups.com, "Alfred" <alfrdsmith@...> wrote:
        >
        > `Pretexting' scandal at high-tech firm extends outside board room
        >
        > In an effort to track down the source of information leaks by
        > Hewlett-Packard Co. insiders, private investigators working for the
        > company obtained reporters' telephone records without permission,
        > the company told MSNBC.com on Thursday.
        >
        > The reporters' records were accessed as part of a private
        > investigation into news leaks that was initiated by company
        > Chairwoman Patricia Dunn.
        >
        > The investigators got the records by impersonating journalists from
        > the Wall Street Journal, CNET.com and other news organizations in a
        > practice known as "pretexting," the company said.
        >
        > HP spokesman Michael Moeller said that "there are other
        journalists"
        > whose records were improperly accessed, but would not say how many
        > others were involved.
        >
        > "HP is absolutely dismayed that the records of journalists were
        > accessed without their knowledge," he said. "We are completely and
        > fully cooperating with the state attorney general's investigation
        > into HP and this incident."
        >
        > Earlier Thursday, CNET.com and the Wall Street Journal published
        > stories indicating their reporters had been contacted by the
        > California Attorney General's Office and told their telephone
        > records had been accessed by unauthorized individuals connected to
        > the company.
        >
        > "CNET Networks takes this situation most seriously," spokeswoman
        > Sarah Cain said. "These actions not only violated the privacy
        rights
        > of our employee, but also the rights of all reporters to protect
        > their confidential sources."
        >
        > Robert Christie, spokesman for Dow Jones, which owns the Wall
        Street
        > Journal, said the newspaper would not comment on its story.
        >
        > A spokesman for the California Attorney General's Office, Tom
        > Dresslar, said he couldn't comment on ongoing investigations.
        > Dresslar also declined to comment on Moeller's assertion that other
        > reporters may have been targeted.
        >
        > In its story, CNET said it was told by an investigator at the
        > attorney general's office that HP had provided a "partial list of
        > reporters names whose phone records may have been compromised."
        > Cain said she didn't know how many reporters were on that list.
        >
        > News of boardroom intrigue at HP broke earlier this week in
        Newsweek
        > with a story that detailed a messy spying episode inside the
        > company. Newsweek reported that Dunn had ordered an investigation
        of
        > other members of the company's Board of Directors in an effort to
        > find out who was giving information anonymously to reporters.
        >
        > The Newsweek story indicated that the investigation was initiated
        by
        > Dunn, who was irked by a story published in January by CNET
        reporter
        > Dawn Kawamoto that provided details of a board-members-only
        > meeting.
        >
        > The investigation was thorough. Kawamoto's home telephone records
        > were obtained, even though her phone is in her husband's name, CNET
        > reported.
        >
        > But the pattern of obtaining reporters' records may stretch further
        > back. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that reporter
        Pui-
        > Wing Tam had been contacted by the California Attorney General's
        > Office with information suggesting she may have been the target of
        > pretexting.
        >
        > Tam, the newspaper indicated, broke an important story about former
        > CEO Carly Fiorina and her disagreements with board members. Fiorina
        > resigned from HP in early 2005.
        >
        > Moeller refused to say what period of time the pretexting activity
        > covered.
        >
        > "We're not giving out any more information at this time," he said.
        >
        > In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on
        > Wednesday, HP acknowledged that its agents used pretexting to
        obtain
        > board members' personal telephone records. Pretexting involves
        > hacking into a consumers' telephone records by impersonating the
        > consumer, and tricking customer service representatives or Web
        sites
        > into divulging the personal information.
        >
        > Thursday's developments indicate that the pretexting extended
        > outside the board room. Journalists' telephone records would
        > readily indicate which board members were communicating with
        > reporters.
        >
        > After a blogger purchased Gen. Wesley Clark's phone records last
        > year from a pretexter, a media firestorm ensued, and Congressional
        > hearings were held examining the practice.
        >
        > Pretexting runs afoul of federal law — specifically, the Federal
        > Trade Commission Act, which bans deceptive trade practices.
        >
        > Late Thursday, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer told the
        > Associated Press that the HP investigation violated two California
        > state laws: California's identity theft statutes, which make it
        > illegal to use someone else's personal information to commit a
        > crime, and the state's computer crime laws, which make unauthorized
        > access to databases illegal.
        >
        > "The question was, was a crime committed? The answer is yes. Does
        > that mean charges will result? Well, we haven't completed the
        > investigation so we're not yet certain as to who committed the
        > crime," Lockyer said. ""It's likely if evidence continues to come
        in
        > the way it has that there will be a prosecution," he said. "But
        > we're not ready to go file a complaint. We're still investigating."
        >
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