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Boardroom Spying Debacle at HP 505

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the corporate-mafia dept.
theodp writes "As word spread that HP was dumping Board member George Keyworth for press leaks, Newsweek broke the bigger story: HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn was so obsessed with finding the leaker that she authorized a team of independent electronic-security experts to spy on the phone records of calls made from HP Directors' home and private cell phones. Not only that, phone records were obtained via pretexting, the controversial practice of obtaining information under false pretenses. After Dunn laid out the surveillance scheme for the Board last May, HP Director Tom Perkins quit on the spot, characterizing Dunn's actions as illegal and unethical. HP is also coming under fire for playing dumb to the SEC about the reasons behind Perkins' resignation. Perkins, who helped launch HP's computer division in the 60's, has asked the FTC, FCC and the Justice Department to investigate."
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Boardroom Spying Debacle at HP

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  • An example (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tritonman (998572) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:36PM (#16053703)
    The leader of our country sets an example for the leaders of our corporations
    • Re:An example (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:03PM (#16053924)
      The leader of our country sets an example for the leaders of our corporations

      I think you're confusing "leader of our country" with every P.I. and divorce lawyer that's been practicing in the US since the turn of the last century. A powerful, private person with some axe to grind or a nasty leak to stop doesn't, and hasn't, needed any inspiration from any sitting president to pay some private spook team to find out what's happening. Doesn't make it all tasty and pleasant, but it also doesn't make a it a good fit for your partisan rantette.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eLore (79935)
        The parent post is completely relevant and non-partisan. Leaders must lead with integrity and set the bar for the behaviour of those they govern. It's time to start holding *everyone* accountable for breaking privacy laws - those that lose customer information, CEO's, and elected officials.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScentCone (795499)
          The parent post is completely relevant and non-partisan. Leaders must lead with integrity and set the bar for the behaviour of those they govern. It's time to start holding *everyone* accountable for breaking privacy laws - those that lose customer information, CEO's, and elected officials.

          OK, then perhaps the tone of the comment should have been aimed at more than one person? HP's BoD may be dealing with marketing and corporate espionage type issues, but they're not so much directly having to contend wi
    • by OakDragon (885217) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:35PM (#16054624) Journal

      Wow. I know that eventally, all Slashdot threads wind up in a Bush-bash. But this is the first case I've seen that goes straight there! (That is, without Bush or the government being the subject of the story.)

  • Sounds like a good way to get anyone to leave, from top to bottom.

    • If they can, I bet they already did.

      But HP is in the "fortunate" position many corporations are today, you can pretty much demand anything from your workers, knowing that they got nowhere to run but mortgages to pay.
  • And this is why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:38PM (#16053719)
    having women in power won't necessarily make for a kinder, gentler world.
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:28PM (#16054112) Journal
      More like it won't make any difference, though not for the obvious extrapolation that everyone will make at that phrase. It's that regardless of which gender you favour, there'll be a certain _kind_ of person who makes it to the top. It's not whether most men are better or most women are better, it's that those who end up at the top will _not_ actually be representative of the majority of men or women anyway.

      The world today, at least the western world (though I wouldn't be surprised if other parts too) has a very different minority that's disproportionately represented at the top: the sociopaths. It's not even much of a surprise. In a society and culture where we expect -- and indeed _demand_ -- sociopathic behaviour from corporations and politicians, the ones that make it to the top are those who can promise just that: to behave like a sociopath, and take decisions without letting emotions or empathy get in the way. And there are reasons too, such as their being natural actors and having no loyalty except to themselves. So they can put up an outstanding show for the boss and get a promotion, while you're busy doing actual work.

      The thing is, what they do has no resemblance with what Joe Average and Jane Housewife does. Only about 1% of the population scores clean over 30 on an APD (Antisocial Personality Disorder = sociopathy/psychopathy) test. We're talking the creme de la creme, the elite among the elite. (To put it into perspective, the average Joe or Jane have maybe 1 confirmed trait or spurious minor manifestations of 2-3, and even those are often just bad habits or benign when they're not accompanied by others.) They're people who are actually more anti-social (in the medical sense) than the hardened criminals in a prison (who tend to average somewhere in the 20's), yet are smart enough to not end up in prison. You can't really look at what a sociopath does and extrapolate it at what the average man or woman would do, nor viceversa.

      They're not only a minority, but they don't even function mentally in the same way as you do. Even if a lot of common people do get caught in an admiration of sociopaths and their methods, in practice they couldn't do the same things. They're just not wired the same way.

      I.e., what I'm saying is that you can't look at this case and think she's representative for women as a whole. And conversely, those who think that "having women in power would make for a kinder, gentler world" make the wrong extrapolation in the other direction. They look at some of the average women around them and think, basically, "hey, I bet if she was a CEO/Chairman/President/whatever, it would be a nicer world." Well, maybe it even would, except it won't those who end up in position of power.

      Just changing the genre stereotype won't make the world any better, as long as the same kind people are left to run the show. What can change the world is (A) recognizing these people for what they are, and (B) having enough checks and safeguards so they can't run amok and cause major damage.
      • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @04:30PM (#16055037)
        Well, since bus drivers and construction workers (and, yes, software engineers) have to take invasive tests (I had to pee in a cup ... kinda irritated me at the time but I wanted the job and they didn't require any kind of non-compete agreement so I figured it was a reasonable tradeoff) of one sort or another in order to obtain work, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be a requirement for corporate upper management to have to take an APD test. At the very least, they should have to take something like the old MMPI so that we have at least some idea if they are complete whackjobs or not.

        I'm not saying that should result in their not being hired for such positions: that would depend upon an individual corporation's policies. But if the results of such testing were required to be a matter of public record, it would be the first thing a potential investor would examine. It would also discourage other sociopaths from even applying for such positions: the last thing a true sociopath wants is to be unmasked. Yes, I know ... that's rather private data and isn't something that most people would want available to anyone, but if you're not willing to submit to such a test, maybe you shouldn't be allowed to run a major corporation.

        Now, granted, there are those that will complain that such testing and publication would be grossly unfair and violate various civil liberties and all that. And I suppose they'll be right in that: I'm not an attorney so I have no idea of what laws such testing would run afoul. But the unfortunately reality is that many of these individuals absolutely cannot be trusted and some means of early detection needs to be put in place. It really doesn't help when the Ken Lays and Bernie Ebbers and others like them are eventually caught (if they are ever caught) because by then the damage has been done, people have been hurt. Look at what Ms. Fiorina accomplished in just a few short years, and managed to walk away from scot-free. It's also obvious that stringing a few of them up hasn't had the desired deterrent effect either. And why should it? If you feel that you're above the law you're not going to let the law get in your way.
        • Waste of time (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @05:37PM (#16055490) Homepage

          I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be a requirement for corporate upper management to have to take an APD test.

          The reason that would be a waste of time is that most of these people are really, really smart. Maybe not maths geniuses or that kind of smart, but they know exactly how to pull the levers in people to get what they want. Unless the APD test checks for some sort of chemical imbalance (preferably while they are comatose), they will know exactly what to say to the relevant questions in order to make themselves look as un-sociopathic as possible. Hell, most of them will look it up before the test, or pay a psychologist to do it for them.

          We are trying to determine if you have any positive emotions towards your fellow man. Do you like children?
          Why yes, I love children, I donated $500 to a childrens foundation just this month!
          :D

          There really isn't an easy answer to this one. Can they do the jobs they are employed to do better than anyone else? If the answer is yes, then they belong in that job. The only thing that can be done is to ensure that if they commit crimes, they are punished to an extent that it will give other sociopaths pause before attempting the same thing. If the RIAA (sociopath city) can sue someone per song in their collection, high level corporate crime should be dealt with on a per-victim basis.

          Steal the pension funds of 500 people? Thats 500 counts of theft or fraud, to be run one after another. Even if they only get 6 months per case, thats still 250 years of hard time. That might seem a bit harsh, but as they say, with great power comes great responsibility.

    • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:31PM (#16054136)

      having women in power won't necessarily make for a kinder, gentler world.

      That's because it's a certain personality type that goes after power, and that type is gender neutral.

      Also, if women ran the world, the Earth would be a bombed out nuclear ruin after the first full moon.

      Oh, I'm gonna get modded down...

  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:38PM (#16053720) Homepage
    Legal experts vary in their views on the extent to which pretexting is a violation of criminal law.

    I work at a bank, and we have to take yearly courses on Pre-Text calling, because it's such as issue here.

    also here [msn.com] is printer unfriendly with the annoying javascript popup

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209)
      "Pretexting" is a new term to me... it seems to be synonymous with what's called "social engineering" in computer security circles. (The colloquial term is "lying".) Is that the case?
  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:44PM (#16053765)
    Can someone please explain to me what authority she had to authorize phone taps on private cell phones? She is not law enforcement. WTF?

    -d
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by LnxAddct (679316)
      If they are company phones, they can do what they want.
      Regards,
      Steve
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by MetalliQaZ (539913)
        yes, but if you read TFA, you see that they were both company phones AND "private cell phones"

        -d
      • by Skye16 (685048) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:56PM (#16053872)
        So, as long as you're in a company bathroom, we can video tape everything you do? After all, it's company property.

        I'm no lawyer, but I'm relatively sure the law requires notification whenever a person's reasonable expectation of privacy is to be infringed upon. A telephone call is one of those reasonable expectations. As is sitting on the toilet. I don't know if there's a legal precedent for email, but I do know that you usually sign an agreement stating that the corporation can watch anything/everything you do using their workstations, telephones, email servers, etc, etc. Without it, I would imagine the person being watched would have a fairly good case in court. They may not win, but then again, they may very well win, and pocket a lot of the company's cash in the process.
        • Employer agreements (Score:4, Informative)

          by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheart@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:17PM (#16054014)
          I don't know if there's a legal precedent for email, but I do know that you usually sign an agreement stating that the corporation can watch anything/everything you do using their workstations, telephones, email servers, etc, etc.

          Keep in mind though, that response is more relevant in the context of an employer-employee relationship. Board of Directors are not "necessarily" employees of the company. Their election by the shareholders binds them to the company, what the company can do with them is limited, and I certainly would think the company could not dictate an agreement to them to do X or Y. The Directors have an obligation to the shareholders, not to the "company."
        • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:33PM (#16054148)

          (Standard IANAL disclaimer here.)

          So, as long as you're in a company bathroom, we can video tape everything you do? After all, it's company property.

          Well, bad example (I'll mention why in a minute), but the answer to the spirit of the question is: Yeah, probably.

          You may or may not have any right to privacy at work. Most Americans see a definite right to privacy in the Constitution, but they fail to understand that the Constitution is meant as a limit on the power of the government. Specifically, it was meant as a limit on the power of the federal government; not until the Fourteenth Amendment did the US Constitution come to apply to the states as well. If it was a police officer who set up the cameras in the bathroom with no cause, it would almost certainly be illegal.

          That said, I believe most case law thus far has come down on the side of "while you're on company property, they can do whatever they want to you." Including, in some cases, opening up your drawers and rifling through your papers; reading your emails; etc. No, they can't watch you in the bathroom--but not as a privacy issue; they couldn't do that because it may very well violate other laws, such as voyeurism. Telephone calls may also be safe, but again, not because of your right to privacy: Depending on the state, it may simply violate wiretap laws.

          Some decisions have begun to come down saying that employees do have some expectation of privacy at their places of employment, and I expect that to be the general trend. That said, I believe it's still in the minority. Your employer still has a tremendous latitude in determine how much privacy to give their employees and when it might be time to violate that.

          More to the point of the case, however, it appears that they did not actually tap anybody's phone. Rather, they looked at phone records. You can bet that it is perfectly within a company's rights, at least at present, to pull the phone records of any employee for any service the company pays for. If they truly did trick the employees' phone companies into releasing their own personal phone records, then that sounds to be entirely illegal.

          So, like I said, the spirit of your initial question seems to be yes: Employers can watch an awful lot of what you do so long as they are not violating any specific laws while they do it. It's the difference between violating a law and violating a right: It does not seem to be the rule (yet) that companies have any obligations to extend you any rights not backed up by law.

    • by RedOregon (161027)
      I'm thinking (IANAL, obviously) that if HP paid for all the phone lines, then this would be permissible? Ethical is a whole different ballgame, yes, but legally permissible?
      • by RedOregon (161027)
        ...and yes, I did RTFA. But it's not unusual for large corporations to pay for all kinds of things for board members, like "private" cell phone accounts that us peons would get laughed out of the office for requesting.
    • Money BUYS law enforcement!

      You will never find a single country on planet Earth where corruption does not take place. It's part of human nature. Obviously, the US is no exception as much as I'd like to believe.
    • by deacon (40533)
      Can someone please explain to me what authority she had to authorize phone taps on private cell phones? She is not law enforcement. WTF

      Beats the shit out of me. You would think someone would have pointed out US code TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 119--WIRE AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS INTERCEPTION AND INTERCEPTION OF ORAL COMMUNICATIONS.

      Here:

      http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/u s c_sup_01_18_10_I_20_119.html [cornell.edu]

      Plus depending on the State this occured in there may be other violations. Is

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anthony Boyd (242971)
        Hi deacon. According to the article, there was no wiretapping. So no, they didn't break the law you cite, and did no illegal phone tapping.

        What they did do was "pretexting," which apparently is also illegal. Basically, they impersonated the directors. They called their phone companies, and -- pretending to be the director in question -- they lied to the customer service person until he/she believed the real customer was on the line. Then, they instructed the customer service person to give them the con
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DragonWriter (970822)
          What they did do was "pretexting," which apparently is also illegal.
          "Pretexting" is noun-verbing corpspeak. What they did is what has long been known as false (im)personation, or, more recently "identity theft".
    • by eclipz (630890) <skyspirit@g m a i l . com> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:58PM (#16053880)
      They did not actually tap the phones. According to TFA:
      It was classic data-mining: Dunn's consultants weren't actually listening in on the calls--all they had to do was look for a pattern of contacts.
      They did obtain the records under false pretenses though, which is illegal.
  • by eshefer (12336) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:45PM (#16053773) Homepage Journal
    Tom Perkins, as in Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. [wikipedia.org]

    This is pretty dramatic.

  • by Travoltus (110240) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:47PM (#16053793) Journal
    Short sell! Short sell!!!
  • Smoking Gun (Score:5, Informative)

    by treeves (963993) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:49PM (#16053814) Homepage Journal
    . . . has documents here: Hewlett-Packard Targeted Board In Leak Probe [thesmokinggun.com]
  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:50PM (#16053820)
    HP used to make decent products. Now they make craptacular products and have management that read from Stalin's playbook.

    It's a shame, really.
  • by TopShelf (92521) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:52PM (#16053836) Homepage Journal
    Dunn sounds like a melodramatic sociopath bent on her own power trip. It's bad enough to hire outside inspectors to track down a leaker, and to resort to snooping on personal call records, which is truly dirty pool. But once she had her proof, why not confront that director personally, rather than pull a stunt like this in front of the full board? Had she confronted this guy directly, he may have resigned quietly. Instead, she's now thrown the spotlight on her disregard for personal ethics or the respect of her colleagues.

    That said, it's pathetic how easy it was for these investigators to get personal phone records on these accounts. You'd think there would be some standards in place, such as only sending the information to addresses already tied to the account, or something. I'm no security expert, but this looks pretty shoddy.
    • by OldManAndTheC++ (723450) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @04:06PM (#16054863)

      But once she had her proof, why not confront that director personally, rather than pull a stunt like this in front of the full board?

      Probably because she wanted the full board to witness the ease and efficiency with which her henchmen had tracked down the wrongdoer, to point out to them the futility of opposing her rule. In her mind, after such a brazen display of power, no one would ever dare to leak again! Unless maybe they had a prostate problem.

  • Doubleplusgood! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by derPlau (184699) <andyp&holyrood,ed,ac,uk> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:53PM (#16053848)
    pretexting, the controversial practice of obtaining information under false pretenses
    That's an awful lot of words to replace a single, more useful one: "lying".
  • I thought it was interesting that finding leaks, and their relative importance, was cited as a major reason for Carly Fiorino's departure -- she thought they were important, the rest of the board didn't (or, maybe, they were concerned about performance and she was concerned about finding something other than performance to distract their attention.) It's also interesting to wonder whether leak-fixing/spying on fellow board members is more likely to happen in the wake of the increasing publicity surrounding
  • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:56PM (#16053861) Homepage
    Believe it or not, it's hard to get worked up about this. Sure, reading the Slashdot text got me mad. It sounds shocking -- what a huge violation of privacy! But then, reading the article, you see that aside from 1 director who resigned, all the other directors, including the leaker, have stayed on board! In other words, the guys whose privacy was invaded didn't care. It was done to them, and their response was to keep serving.

    So why care on their behalf? These walking lobotomies need to stand up for themselves.
    • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:06PM (#16053940) Journal
      Why should have to leave? Let her resign. And their privacy may have been violated (and probably was), they just haven't found out yet or don't have physical proof so they are keeping mum.
      • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:28PM (#16054110) Homepage
        Hi Hoi Polloi. You're totally right. I should have been more clear. The board has known what Dunn did since May. So my real thought is not that they all should have resigned, but that they all should have done something. Yes, make her resign. If not that, then public disclosure and shareholder review. Something. But they sat on this for May, June, July, August, and now we're into September, and they've still done nothing. Well, they've finally been caught off guard by being exposed. Maybe that will stir them into action.

        I just think these dumb idiots bent over and let her screw them. And when they found out how much they had been violated, they apparently just stayed hunched over, waiting for more. It's pathetic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yndrd1984 (730475)
      So why care on their behalf?
      Because you could be next?
  • by OglinTatas (710589) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:56PM (#16053863)
    Funny, but quoting from The Register article [theregister.com]

    "The situation is regrettable," Ms. Dunn said in a statement provided to the Wall Street Journal. "But the bottom line is that the board has asserted its commitment to upholding the standards of confidentiality that are critical to its functioning. A board can't serve effectively if there isn't complete trust that what gets discussed stays in the room."

    Can the board serve effectively if there isn't complete trust or confidentiality anyway? If the CEO is spying on you at any or at all times?
    • by wiml (883109) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:12PM (#16053983)
      I like how the board "[upheld] the standards of confidentiality" by ... violating the confidentiality of the board members' personal lives. Yay for double standards!
  • I can't help but think of the Admiral's statement in the movie, "Enemy of the State". Loosely, it was, "...if this was someone's unilateral wet dream, then that someone is going to prison..." Now I'm all for making money at someone else's expense; But not at the risk of getting caught breaking the law. I think we'll be seeing HP public relations types clawing their brains trying to put a positive spin on this. Maybe I can help, "George Bush does it; Why can't I?"

    "slowly, one by one, the penguins steal my
  • by igb (28052) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:58PM (#16053884)
  • 'Pretext'? (Score:5, Funny)

    by displaced80 (660282) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:59PM (#16053891)
    Funny. I'd call it 'lying'.

    If you have to think up a euphemism for what you're doing, it's probably wrong.

    Unless it's funny, like 'bumping uglies' or 'dropping the kids off at the pool'
  • by MooseTick (895855) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:12PM (#16053982) Homepage
    If Patricia Dunn spies on her employees like this, how can I trust her enough to be a customer of HP?

    If they were looking at company issued phones, computers, or other equiptment I would say that is fair game. When they pretend they are you and get information from services providers where you pay the bill they have crossed the line. I was shopping for a new laptop and HP is now out of contention.

    The only way this can be corrected is if HP cans Patricia Dunn ASAP. Tom Perkins should be running HP. He actually has a moral compass and stands by what he thinks is right.
    • If Patricia Dunn spies on her employees like this, how can I trust her enough to be a customer of HP?

      To be honest if HP produced equipment that was halfway decent and sold at a reasonable price, it wouldn't bother me one way or the other. They don't, on both counts, so the point is moot. Regardless, I'd tap that sociopathic ass [forbes.com].

      Naughty Patricia.

      Naughty.

  • She announced it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@devinm o o r e .com> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:18PM (#16054021) Homepage Journal
    The real boneheaded move here is that she disclosed to everyone what she was up to, presumably because she thought it would be OK with them or something. That was totally stupid! Anyone knows that if you want to break the law like that, you have to keep it under the table and OUT of the boardroom discussions... DUH!
  • by spamchang (302052) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:23PM (#16054073) Journal
    ...is Tom Perkins's ethical behavior. I only hope that when I get to be a director, I would have the cajones to resign rather than to serve under or carry out orders from a boss with a history of such behavior. Well, that and the handwriting on the wall (SEC investigation) might have helped influence his decision. But what a way to go!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Matt Perry (793115)
      I only hope that when I get to be a director, I would have the cajones to resign rather than to serve under or carry out orders from a boss with a history of such behavior.

      When I get to be a director I'm going to learn to use the street-corner payphones!
    • The Board represents the stockholders and the C-level employees work for the board and at their discretion. That said, there's usually contracts involved that would require substantial payouts when the CEO is canned, but there is absolutely no reason why the board couldn't have heard this relevation, held a vote, then had her escorted off the property on the spot.

      As I understand the situation, the remaining board members aren't entirely in the clear since the CEO appears to have committed criminal acts as
  • by OutOnARock (935713) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:42PM (#16054228)
    As a former employee of Pattie Dunn when she worked at Wells Fargo Nikko Investment Advisors which became Barclays Global Investors, I always found Pattie to be a person who really cared about her employees and their personal lives. She was always approachable, listened to your concerns no matter how high or low you were in her chain of command, and without sounding too sexist, had a great smile, a charming personality, and was the easiest on the eyes boss I've ever had. I can only imagine what HP has put her through to cause such a change in her attitudes. On the other hand, perhaps this is an example of what has happened to America in general. "Truly a sight to behold. The man, beaten. The once great champ, now a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we've raced so many times before. But a pathetic, washed-up aged ex-champion. " (obscure Better Off Dead quote :) )
  • by wfberg (24378) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:45PM (#16054252)
    In my mind this is symptomatic of the corporate life in the higher echelons. Basically, these people at the top don't have te requisite life experience, or call it wisdom, or even common sense, to act like adults. Corporate life to these people is nothing more than a replay of high school. They're scheming, pulling pranks, cheating, and generally making stuff up as they go along.

    It's not that there aren't established procedures and rules (and laws) of how to monitor employees (even board members). It's that this Ms. Dunn can't be bothered to look it up. Or even ask human resources. Making stuff up as you go along is what passes for "innovative", "bold", "leadership.

    She's cut from the same jib as, say, those Enron guys. These are people who see life as a game, and yes, they're winning, if you keep score the way they do. Morally, as human beings, they're of course pieces of shit.

    It's not surprising the rest of the board members stayed on board. They're used to treating people like children, and they've not fully grown up themselves, so this sort of irresponsible prank seems logical to them. They're the business equivalents of Bill O'Reilly - great ratings, but ultimately they're just spewing hot air, and their oversimplified black-and-white world is so disconnected from the real world, they wouldn't know it if it bit them in the ass.

    But there you have it. Apparently the Chairwoman at HP is willing to go to great, and illegal lengths, to run the company. Will the shareholders say "hey, wait, maybe having someone at the top who's willing to commit felonies isn't such a great idea"? Only time will tell..
    • A little extra (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aceticon (140883)
      Allow me to add a little something that poped-up to my mind today:

      This kind of behaviour is tipical of a certain kind of people who hide behind a crowd and lead it to act in ways which solo individuals never would.

      - If the crowd is on the streets they're "a mob" and the aboved mentioned people are called "rabble rousers" or "inciters to violence"
      - If the crowd sits down in buildings they're "a corporation" and the above mentioned people are called "directors"

      I strongly suspect that personality-wise the same
    • It reminds me .... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aceticon (140883)

      But there you have it. Apparently the Chairwoman at HP is willing to go to great, and illegal lengths, to run the company. Will the shareholders say "hey, wait, maybe having someone at the top who's willing to commit felonies isn't such a great idea"? Only time will tell..

      This reminds me of a couple of years ago when the football (soccer if you're an american) club i'm a fan of elected as president a shaddy lawyer character which years before had scammed some persons out of their moeny but somehow managed t

  • They didn't get mine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Groo Wanderer (180806) <charlie&semiaccurate,com> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:45PM (#16054255) Homepage
    Coming from someone who was ripping HP up and down at the time for their moronic behavior, I can say three things with authority. First, I had sources on that level. Second, they didn't get my sources, not even close. Several witchhunters resigned and/or were canned while looking for Inq sources, but as far as I am aware, they did not find a single one, teh fewls. Third, my sources are a lot smarter than Mr Keyworth or Ms Dunn.

    The sad part is, they will probably get away with all of this. The sadder part is they are looking in the wrong place. As a member of that nebulous group know as 'the press', I can say that people speak out and leak when things are going badly, wrong, and management has their heads stuck up their collective asses. Rather than fixing the problem, they assign blame.

    In any case, I should drop my guys a line and have a laugh.

                  -Charlie
  • by redelm (54142) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:49PM (#16054282) Homepage
    It appears that the HP Charwoman believes that leaks are so wrong as to justify conspiracy, fraud and other felonies. That sounds like a control phreak to me. Perhas we should expect nothing less given the corporate selection process.

    However, she is easily indictable and her imprisonment will serve as a fine example for others of her ilk who doubtless think likewise.

  • by Intron (870560) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:56PM (#16054337)
    "Keyworth was asked to resign but has refused to do so. HP said it will not renominate him to its xxx-member board."

    Just where are HP getting their board members?
  • by ContractualObligatio (850987) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @06:18PM (#16055778)
    Normally when I comment in relation to HP (I'm an employee) I stay anonymous and just correct facts. ACs tend to get modded down but hey, at least that way I don't get my posts interpreted simply by what the reader thinks of HP. But typically the topic is "Alpha vs. Itanium" or somesuch where no matter anyone's claims to knowing the one shining truth, it comes down to matters of opinion (hey, I'm a software guy, what would I know...).

    But this situation is different. It's truly embarassing and I hope Dunn suffers in consequence. Talking to the press is bad. Whether or not you agree, that was what the board decided. Any board member who disagrees should stand up and be counted or have the guts to resign. I get paid good money, have access to confidential information, and would like to think I have the standards to quit rather than get petty ego-boosting revenge by talking to the press. Whistle blowing bad business practice etc is noble. Leaking product roadmaps etc is just masturbating.

    So Keyworth deserves to leave the board. His actions, however, just don't compare to Dunn invading the private lives of her colleagues.

    HP has done a lot and does a lot to be proud of. Every once and a while a salesperson does a stupid thing or a business decision is "sub-optimal", but for instance we haven't joined the ranks of the many tech companies playing silly buggers with the financials. We've been getting our act together over the past year and a lot of us are hopeful we will become a great company again.

    Then last thing before I go to bed (I'm in the UK), I hear that the board doesn't even understand that lying to get an innocent person's personal information is a bad thing. I don't care whether it's illegal or not. It's a shit thing to do. And I hate going to bed pissed off.

    There's one combination of things that always makes me angry. First, acting in a clearly "bad" way - whether that's illegal, unethical, plain rude, whatever. Second, when it's also a stupid thing. What do we get for outing the leak? Not much (but there can be minor advantages to the competition being in the dark for a few months, trust me). Will the way we've behaved come to light? Of course - look at Tom Perkins letters, this eventually becomes a matter of public record via the SEC for fuck's sake! Will it be embarassing if a customer brings it up? Yes, perhaps with a financial impact, and with the story on e.g. front webpage BBC, everyone's going to know about it.

    I hope they ask her to resign.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @11:13PM (#16057079) Homepage Journal

    Here's a counter to the examples we so often see of businessmen doing the wrong thing. You don't often hear about people in business doing the right thing, because that seldom makes a juicy story. In business, you have to make ethical decisions all the time. It's nice to see a news story that sheds some light on one of those decisions properly decided.

NOWPRINT. NOWPRINT. Clemclone, back to the shadows again. - The Firesign Theater

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