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HP's Dunn Stepping Down 301

Posted by Zonk
from the backlash dept.
XJHardware writes "Yahoo news is reporting that Patricia Dunn is stepping down from the chair of HP." From the article: "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."
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HP's Dunn Stepping Down

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:35AM (#16088356) Journal
    This really isn't a surprise if HP wanted to hold together as a company. This damage may be deeper than you think as their Head of Global Operations, Giles Bouchard is leaving [theinquirer.net] by October 31st. It doesn't indicate what his reasons are but he's been working there for two years, why now? Will we see others follow or will Dunn's resignation stop others from jumping ship?
    • by biglig2 (89374) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:39AM (#16088370) Homepage Journal
      She's remaining a director after scamming the phone records of other directors? Frankly the entire board should go: the crooks should go because they're crooks, and the rest should go because they're crazy to stay on the board of a company that does this sort of thing.

      By the way, isn't this sort of thing kind of illegal? Shouldn't people be going to jail?
      • by operagost (62405) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:52AM (#16088456) Homepage Journal
        Well, Kevin Mitnick got himself jail time doing this sort of thing. The only difference is that, not being a company insider, he had to start from scratch. When you already have people's SSNs because you are a high-level executive with power or influence over HR, it should be trivial.
      • Excuse me? (Score:3, Funny)

        by Travoltus (110240)
        A corporate officer? Going to jail? What are you, some kind of communist?

        Look what happened the last time we put a corporate officer in jail, he had a heart attack. Your jealousy of the rich & powerful is overwhelmingly hateful in its magnitude.

        Won't somebody think of the CEOs, oh the horror of it all!!!
    • Perkins quit when he heard about the spying and lying. He held his fire, then he outed Dunn and the board. The company was supposed to disclose why Hackborn quit when he did. And the board should have disclosed the investigation started by Dunn as well as the results of the investigation.

      I agree that the rest of the board, including Hackborn, has some responsibility. But how to get rid of them? I usually withhold my votes, but the big institutions usually vote for the boards.
      • Perkins is the reason Dunn had to get the PIs involved. He was head of the board accounting and ethics oversight committee. He sat there while Dunn investigated, tried to get the board to do something and did nothing. He should have been the first board member a year ago to vote the guy out, but instead chose cronyism over the privacy of the boards internal discussions. I've worked for bosses that "tattle" to the rest of the workers on work related, but private matters.. it's no fun, it ruins companies.
  • Pretexting?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Harmonious Botch (921977) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:36AM (#16088360) Homepage Journal
    Maybe I'm old-fashioned. But in my day we called it 'lying'.
    • by mgblst (80109)
      This must be some sort of joke. Every single article about this event has gone out of its way to mention pretexting? I smell a conspiracy.
    • Re:Pretexting?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:52AM (#16088458) Homepage
      Well, obviously the name "pretexting" is a lie itself, designed to cover up the uglier truth of "lying". It's all part of marketing corporate-speak, in which negative aspects of what you do are covered up through language trickery, in this case making up a word that nobody knows the meaning of.

      I'm rather pleased that they have failed to pull the wool over anyone's eyes, but the fact that the word keeps getting repeated is bothersome. The news outlets should only be using that word in the context of explaining Dunn's lame attempt to cover up for fraud.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lawpoop (604919)
      Here on uber-leet slashdot, we call it 'social engineering'.
    • Re:Pretexting?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Himring (646324) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:55AM (#16088476) Homepage Journal
      This truly boggles the mind. I work at a large corporation and watch/put up with insanity every day. It seems, at times, that the higher up you go the more insane things are. The old tale of "The Emporer's New Clothes," where insanity leads to a king walking naked down the streets, and only a child can see the truth, applies greatly.

      I could write volumes on things that have happened in my career, but this HP debacle takes the cake. And the thing is, they feel entirely in their rights while they were doing it, after they were doing it and on up until they realized that they really had to explain themselves. They are confessing now because they got caught, not because they really felt it to be wrong. Thus are the ills of capitalism.

      As a wise man once said: "Capitalism is the notion that evil men, doing evil things, will bring about the greatest good...." Or something to that effect....

      • Re:Pretexting?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @11:11AM (#16088571) Journal
        I am pretty sure that Communism had plenty of examples of spying and evil deeds. To assign this purely to the "ills of capitalism" demonstrates you are prejudiced against capitalism in general. My bet is that Ms. Dunn would be just as much of an ass if she were in power in a communist economy.

        Capitalism does not require people act unethically, illegally or immorally. My fear is that people like you will simply use this situation to "prove" how capitalism is bad (and why whatever brand of economics you prefer is "right"), rather than understand it for what it is: PEOPLE that are bad, and would be just as bad, in any other economic system.

        Another pisser is that by blaming capitalism, you are releasing her from fault, as it is "capitalism" that is at fault, and not an overzealous and unethical person, Ms. Dunn. She shares the blame with no one.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Himring (646324)
          Me faulting capitalism does not equal me blessing communism. Your logic set is flawed....

          • by Pharmboy (216950)
            My using Communism as an obvious example does not indicate you prefer it to capitalism. That was made clear when I said " (and why whatever brand of economics you prefer is "right") ".

            I have no idea what brand of economics you prefer, but your prejudice against capitalism is obvious, and the point. Logic isn't the issue, prejudice is.

            • by Duhavid (677874)
              If you cant look at a thing and see the bad and the good,
              then what? Is he prejudiced because he sees flaws
              in a thing? There are flaws in capitalism. It is the best
              thing we have found so far, but there are flaws in it.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Pharmboy (216950)
                The flaws are not with capitalism, but with the character (or lack thereof) Ms. Dunn. Again, to assign the blame to capitalism is simply saying "It's not her fault, it is capitalisms fault".
                • by lewp (95638)
                  Pointing out a flaw in a system doesn't absolve people who exploit that flaw.

                  (Of course, I don't really "get" this thread anyway. The motivation to do unscrupulous things for the advancement of one's own agenda exists in any system. The only thing capitalism may have provided was a healthy supply of unscrupulous private investigators.)
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Duhavid (677874)
                  I have no doubt that Ms Dunn has character issues.

                  And she owns that.

                  Capitalism has a flaw in that it "prefers" ( as an
                  emergent behaviour ) people without character for high
                  positions like this. Because those people will do
                  whatever it takes, regardless of of ethics or legality,
                  and that makes more money.
          • The problem is that you mentioned capitalism, as though you were saying something distinctive about it, or that different economic systems might not have powerful people who think they can get away with being assholes.

            Imagine if I went to the zoo and dropped 16-ton weights on all the animals. They all died. Then I said, "The problem with parrots is that they fail to resist a 16-ton weight." It sounds like I'm talking about parrots, but parrots actually have nothing to do with it. The real issue is the

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by gdamore (933478)
          Don't get me wrong. I'm a staunch capitalist myself.

          But the main difference between capitalism and communism is the difference between an individual working for self gain and an individual working for the greater good.

          A true altruist will prefer communism where everybody gets basically equal treatment/salary, etc. But in a real world, communism doesn't work, because there are people like Ms. Dunn, and even people with otherwise good morals are going to work much harder for their own self-gain than for som
      • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @11:26AM (#16088687)
        Thus are the ills of capitalism.

        As a wise man once said: "Capitalism is the notion that evil men, doing evil things, will bring about the greatest good...." Or something to that effect....


        Whoever said that was a fool, not a wise man. Capitalism has never been anything to do with right, wrong, good or evil, it's about self interest. It's human nature and will happen no matter what type of society we have. What do you propose as an alternative?

         
      • by Chacham (981) *
        It seems, at times, that the higher up you go the more insane things are.

        They are not insane. They are smart. It's the sort of thing we common folk could not possibly understand.
    • Bah, that's not old-fashioned. In my day, we called it terminological inexactitude.
  • Pretexting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRecklessWanderer (929556) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:37AM (#16088362) Journal
    So calling the phone company and pretending to be somebody else to get their records is called Pretexting??? I kinda thought that was called fraud. As for Dunn stepping down, the buck stops here, and if she can't keep control of her ship, then she would step down. Of course, it's probably a case of Nixonitis, i.e. everybody does it, but HP got caught.
    • Re:Pretexting (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CerebusUS (21051) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:40AM (#16088378)
      Step down? Shouldn't someone go to jail for this? I agree it's fraud, let's treat it as such.
      • by AJWM (19027)
        It's not fraud. For it to be fraud, money (or equivalent negotiable assets) has to have been acquired through the deception. In this case, the intent of the deceit was to obtain information, not cash.

        Historically you can claim to be anybody you like, so long as it is not with intent to defraud (or hamper a police investigation). Historically, "pretexting" hasn't even been illegal -- laws against it are only on the books in a couple of states and are fairly new. PI's and "investigative journalists", amo
        • by timeOday (582209)
          Really? So you think some rank & file at HP could lie their way to get access corporate email accounts and still keep their job after being caught? Honestly, I would be surprised if they got away with no more than being fired. But Dunn wasn't even fired.
    • So calling the phone company and pretending to be somebody else to get their records is called Pretexting??? I kinda thought that was called fraud.

      Or as another poster said, "lying". Or as I thought, "falsely impersonating another", although mine is a bit wordy. Apparently most of us seemed to think the English language already had this one covered, but for some reason the idiodic press thought it was really cool and neat to invent a new word nobody would understand. Or perhaps this word "pretexting" c
      • by blincoln (592401)
        but for some reason the idiodic press thought it was really cool and neat to invent a new word nobody would understand.

        When I first saw it, I figured it was a reference to sending a text message to someone in advance of an actual phone call or in-person meeting - a sort of "super-humanal communication," or possibly Pre-Crime officers SMSing each other about an imminent murder.
      • by Fishstick (150821) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @12:09PM (#16088992) Journal
        but for some reason the idiodic press thought it was really cool and neat to invent a new word nobody would understand


        close, the idiotic federal government apparently thought it needed an important sounding new word

        There ought to be a law... There is! [ftc.gov]

        Pretexting: Your Personal Information Revealed

        When you think of your own personal assets, chances are your home, car, and savings and investments come to mind. But what about your Social Security number (SSN), telephone records and your bank and credit card account numbers? To people known as "pretexters," that information is a personal asset, too.

        Pretexting is the practice of getting your personal information under false pretenses. Pretexters sell your information to people who may use it to get credit in your name, steal your assets, or to investigate or sue you. Pretexting is against the law.

        How Pretexting Works
        Pretexters use a variety of tactics to get your personal information. For example, a pretexter may call, claim he's from a survey firm, and ask you a few questions. When the pretexter has the information he wants, he uses it to call your financial institution. He pretends to be you or someone with authorized access to your account. He might claim that he's forgotten his checkbook and needs information about his account. In this way, the pretexter may be able to obtain personal information about you such as your SSN, bank and credit card account numbers, information in your credit report, and the existence and size of your savings and investment portfolios.

        Keep in mind that some information about you may be a matter of public record, such as whether you own a home, pay your real estate taxes, or have ever filed for bankruptcy. It is not pretexting for another person to collect this kind of information.

        There Ought to Be a Law -- There Is
        Under federal law -- the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act -- it's illegal for anyone to:

                * use false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or documents to get customer information from a financial institution or directly from a customer of a financial institution.
                * use forged, counterfeit, lost, or stolen documents to get customer information from a financial institution or directly from a customer of a financial institution.
                * ask another person to get someone else's customer information using false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or using false, fictitious or fraudulent documents or forged, counterfeit, lost, or stolen documents.

        The Federal Trade Commission Act also generally prohibits pretexting for sensitive consumer information.


  • HP Boise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WED Fan (911325) <akahigeNO@SPAMtrashmail.net> on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:39AM (#16088369) Homepage Journal

    I left HP, Boise during the disaster that was Carly.

    Her "I-came-up-from-the-mailroom" speech was enough to make most in the Departmental LaserJet Division to wretch. But, at least she didn't go all Richard Nixon on everyone and send out eaves-dropping goon squads.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Her "I-came-up-from-the-mailroom" speech

      Is that speech listed on this page [hp.com]? I'd be interested in knowing which one it was.
  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:40AM (#16088384)
    When you hit the cover of Newsweek as a shining example of corporate misbehaviour, it's safe to say your days are numbered.
    • Re:No Big Surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @11:16AM (#16088609) Journal
      When you hit the cover of Newsweek as a shining example of corporate misbehaviour, it's safe to say your days are numbered.

      Two words: Book Deal

      This is America, where we celebrate those that do wrong and actually had to make a LAW that says if you murder or rape someone, you can't make money off any books/tv deals (but other crimes, and it's ok). Think about that, that means that people will buy books written by these criminals, and make the criminals potentially RICH, if you don't make it illegal. Might even get a "made for TV movie" out of it.
  • I am taking action to ensure that inappropriate investigative techniques will not be employed again. They have no place in HP


    Urr, isn't this just stating the obvious since she's the one responsible for the inappropriate techniques in the first place. Or at least, she signed off on them in some fashion. Isn't this a little like a thief retiring from thievery so that no more robberies will be committed?
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:41AM (#16088389) Homepage Journal
    FTA: (emphasis mine)
    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.
    Strange. So she knew about illegal practices being carried out because of her request, and then continues to have a seat??

    Why is it that I get a visit from the police when I do some good ole' social engineering and get caught? And this woman gets a seat as a director?
    • She wont have one for long. They usually allow them to have a seat because its tough to kick them outright without the person being able to use something to legally screw the people doing the kicking out. But they will make her stay so much hell (keeping he missinformed, talking behind her back, things that would be considered harrasement but hard to prove in court) that after 2-3 months she'll want to leave.
      • But they will make her stay so much hell (keeping he missinformed, talking behind her back, things that would be considered harrasement but hard to prove in court) that after 2-3 months she'll want to leave.
        Heh yeah, or something like 'more time for the family' or something.
    • by rubycodez (864176)
      not to worry, the party's just getting started, the california AG and the U.S. congress and AG are starting to look into this, so Dunn may be in for more slow-roasting on the spit.
    • by dr_d_19 (206418)

      Why is it that I get a visit from the police when I do some good ole' social engineering and get caught? And this woman gets a seat as a director?


      Ehem, because you didn't apologize! And, well, that and being influential and well connected helps you get of the hook. A little apology and thing is forgotten, no prosecution needed!
    • Because she wasn't socially engineering her way into the cheif's daughters pants?
    • Why is it that I get a visit from the police when I do some good ole' social engineering and get caught? And this woman gets a seat as a director?

      She disclosed their social security numbers and other info but did not commit the fraud herself and claims ignorance. We'll see what the AG does about that but the fall guy "investigator" will be nailed. When someone asks you to do something wrong, just say no.

  • It's badPR when your CEO gets arrested for wire fraud...
    • by operagost (62405)
      She's not the CEO. She's the chairman. Hurd is the CEO. At HP the responsibilites for those two offices are divided.
      • by dfghjk (711126)
        The CEO reports to the board of directors, of which the chairman is lead member. Disturbing, eh?
  • I guess... (Score:3, Funny)

    by chriswaclawik (859112) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:45AM (#16088420)
    I guess you can say his time at HP is... DUNN for! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... sigh.
  • Have the phone companies, or any other company that deals with customer's sensitive data is to mail the report to the person's mailing address along with a letter saying that you asked for this data to be sent, from a phone call on this date, from such-n-such phone number.
    They should then refuse, 100% to fax or email the information out.
    Change of address? Certainly, after we send out a letter confirming your address change.

    Just like when I change my address (or do anything else) with my 401(k), IRAs, and b
  • Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Captain Sarcastic (109765) * on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:47AM (#16088435)
    At least she did the right thing there.

    I don't know if it was a King Richard II thing ("Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?") or if it was a cold-blooded decision ("Commander, tear this ship apart, and bring me the passengers... ahem, I mean, dig up anything and everything you can on whoever seems a likely target."), but either way there was no way that HP could have kept any customer or shareholder faith with her remaining at the helm.

    What I find interesting is that the Justice department is checking this "pretexting" business out. Are they interested in prosecuting it... or duplicating it?
    • by AceCaseOR (594637)

      I don't know if it was a King Richard II thing ("Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?")

      It's Henry II, but you've got the quote right.

      What I find interesting is that the Justice department is checking this "pretexting" business out. Are they interested in prosecuting it... or duplicating it?

      I doubt it's duplication. They can easily get access to this information anyway with a warrant (and, with the Patriot Act, possibly without a warrant).

  • Screw That (Score:2, Insightful)

    by N8F8 (4562)
    At least the slimy mofo George Keyworth who was blabbing to the press got his name slimed.
    • by twitter (104583) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @12:24PM (#16089113) Homepage Journal

      At least the slimy mofo George Keyworth who was blabbing to the press got his name slimed.

      I'd love to know just what he "leaked" and why you hate him for doing it. The nearest I can tell from reading the Wikipedia, the "leak" was about Fiorina's $42,000,000 severance package which has two HP investors suing HP for violating their own payment caps. If that's all there is, Keyworth is a whistle blower. If you know something, I'd love to hear it.

  • by mre5565 (305546) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:50AM (#16088451)
    The CEO is now the chairman of the board. While
    Hurd was probably exasperated, and rightly felt
    he had to take the reigns to prevent further
    damage to his company, the post-Enron concept
    of an independent board has just taken a big
    step backward. In the long run this is bad
    for shareholders (not just HP shareholders).
  • Now ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:51AM (#16088452)
    Dunn: "Now, just give me my 'agreed-upon compensation that will pay the salary for 100 people over a lifetime' and I'll be gone."
  • ... our new UNIX-replacing daemon [gnu.org] overlords!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:54AM (#16088470)
    crushing a woman simply because she is powerful. Well, and amoral. Illegal, too.

    Anyway, it's just the establishment putting someone down just because they are female and criminal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dfghjk (711126)
      No need to attach her gender to the issue. Criminal is enough.

      Curiously, I've always felt that board members were inherently criminal ;-) For the most part, board member seats are used to gain inside access to politics and favor within other large corporations. It's scary to see just how interconnected boards really are.
  • High Crimes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @11:02AM (#16088526) Homepage Journal
    Enough of this "pretexting" mumbo jumbo. It's "lying", fraud. Just because an exec does it doesn't require a euphamism to protect them from punishment like a mere human would get. They're not royalty who must be referred to with a "royal we" or "your highness". Their problems aren't "issues".

    They're criminals. If anything, their crimes are worse, because they have more power and do more damage, while requiring more trust.
  • I find it offensive (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tkrotchko (124118) * on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @11:08AM (#16088556) Homepage
    I find out that people won't calling what they did by the proper name:
          LYING

    Pretexting? It sounds so much nicer, like what a kid would do to talk to their friends on a cell phone. And I blame the press for buying into it and reporting it rather than saying "Patricia Dunn lied to the phone company to fraudulently obtain phone records".

    • True, true. The PC crap has got to stop. It was "lying". Period. Kinda waiting for the "I am not a crook" and "You won't have Dunn to kick around anymore" speaches.

      But then, I am still waiting for the AP and Reuters to call the terrorists "terrorists". Not insurgents, not resistance fighters, not even "opposition forces". No, when they target exclusively civilian targets with the intention of maximizing civilian deaths... they are terrorists.

    • by Bob_Villa (926342)
      Same thing with used cars. They are all called pre-owned now. "Look at our beautiful pre-owned Lexus cars, better than new"

      No they aren't, they are USED!!

      If you look at the root, wouldn't pre-owned mean "before owned"
  • by Yuioup (452151) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @11:14AM (#16088589)
    So maybe now GNU/Hurd will finally be Dunn...

    Y
  • Does anyone know whether Steve Balmer ever engaged in pretexting?
    • [telephone rings]

      "Hello?"

      "Hello, this is Sergei Brin, owner of Google."

      "Why, hello Mr Brin. What a surprise! I just had an interview with Google. I thought it went well, but those were some tough questions!"

      "Yes. Er... Look, I am calling to let you know personally that Google is a terrible place to work."

      "It is?"

      "Yes... um... The 'Do No Evil' slogan is nonsense. We do plenty of evil."

      "Really?"

      "Oh yes. Evil like you can't believe. And, um, we're not nearly as visionary as the people at Microsoft. Have you ev
  • Ha-ha! [/nelson]
  • There are TWO issues here, and I fear that one of them is being overshadowed by the other. It is not at all clear that they are unequal in magnitude, at least from the point of view of a HP shareholder, or even a board member.

    One of the members of the board was leaking company information, and in a way that exposes HP to punitive action by the SEC.

    Leaking a company's moral wrongdoings (whistleblowing) is one thing -- a valuable service to all stakeholders, but leaks that expose corporate strategy to compet

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