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The Culture of Evasion 122

theodp writes "In the wake of Patricia Dunn's resignation, Wired's Fred Vogelstein walked away less than impressed with HP CEO's Mark Hurd's spying mea culpa. He says it smacked more of standard corporate ass covering than leadership, especially coming 3 weeks after the scandal broke. His sentiments are echoed in Computerworld's Culture of Evasion, which was written before Hurd mounted an I-knew-nothing-defense. Hurd claims that he bailed out on a meeting that approved the spying, neglected to read the spying report directed to him, and was clueless about the tracer technology employed in the reporter-baiting false e-mail he personally gave thumbs-up to."
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The Culture of Evasion

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...an I-knew-nothing-defense. Hurd claims that he bailed out on a meeting that approved the spying, neglected to read the spying report directed to him, and was clueless about the tracer technology employed in the reporter-baiting false e-mail he personally gave thumbs-up to."

    Sounds like George Bush and his denial of responsibility for torture being done in the name of America. When we let our highest politicians get away with this, how can we expect our corporate leaders not to follow suit?

    For the youn

    • Actually I wish people in government would learn from what HP has done in response to the scandal. Yeah it has been mostly damage control instead of real accountability, but in the end Patricia Dunn is OUT, because HP were forced to respond. And Hurd's position is far from secure. (Not appointing an interim Chair, are you serious?)

      Yet scandal after scandal unrolls at the whitehouse and all we see from congress is appeasement. They just made torture retroactively legal to '97. Absolutely un-fucking-beli
    • Yeah, I mean, the least he (Bush) could have done was to come up with an excuse like "I drank too much iced tea and was in the men's room when they discussed that part". Or maybe he could say that he knows of no "controlling legal authority" that would constrain him from these illegal actions.

      Don't kid yourself that it's only the guys with the 'R' after their name that do wrong and then do a piss-poor job of coming clean later...
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      the Iran-Contra Affair

      The funniest bit of evidence is the Bible signed by Ronald Reagan that was sent to Tehran with the weapons.

    • by phorm ( 591458 )
      I won't agree with it, but politicians have been known to lie, cheat, and steal for a long time. Sure, this generat ion seems a bit worse than the prior ones, but the fact is that people (including those who run big companies) have personal responsibility and ethics of their own.

      I live in BC, Canada. My premiere (governor) was caught drinking and driving. Does that incline me, or any others, to do so? I don't think so.
      • Does that incline me, or any others, to do so? I don't think so.

        Maybe not you, but possible others. After all, if government can't follow its own rules, how can it expect anyone else to follow them?
    • Someone within HP is acting against Mark Hurd, otherwise documents demonstrating his direct culpability [washingtonpost.com] would not have surfaced. It appears to me that this information seals Hurd's fate... he will probably lose his job, face criminal charges, and be the target of a class action lawsuit from the reporters from whom he fraudulently obtained phone records.

      The question is who is leaking and why.

      HP is now the synthesis of Compaq and DEC, and there probably isn't an HP employee who doesn't know of a terminate

    • Granted, Hurd's denials are reminiscent of governmental denials. A big difference is that government, whether we like it or not, is empowered by the voting and non-voting electorate. We have, ultimately, ourselves to blame for governmental incompetence.

      Neither Hurd nor Patricia Dunn, nor least of all, HP, has the legal authority to obtain phone records of journalists or even their board members. We, the people have empowered government through the police to protect us. At no time have we authorized a pri

  • Game over (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:49PM (#16168837)
    So, he doesn't stick around for important meetings adn doesn't follow up afterwards to find out what happened, he doesn't read reports directed to him, he "doesn't recall" authorising the infection of a journalist's PC with tracking software and (according to him) he's too stupid to wonder where all the confidential phone records were coming from.

    When's he going to be fired for gross incompetence?
    • Re:Game over (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:03PM (#16169391) Journal
      That is the wonderful thing about sitting up at the top of a public firm. Your only performance review is the stock price. As long as the company as a whole does well, you job is secure regardless of wether you can be bothered to do it all much less be expected to do it well.

      As long as there are a handful of good people at the top of an organization like HP to keep things on course the rest have a free pass to be total ass-clowns.
  • by saridder ( 103936 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:51PM (#16168857) Homepage

    No disagreements with the article here. I'm shocked that she didn't resign or that
    she wasn't fired the day she stepped down from the chair. Instead she stayed on the board another 3
    weeks!! In another, even bigger joke, HP [google.com]
    is co-sponsoring a privacy award!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:54PM (#16168877)
    You know, when a CEO like Hurd insists they are not culpable of any illegal behavior because of sheer incompetence and ignorance of what their subordinates are doing, then they really should be fired by the board of directors immediately. There's really no excuse to keep them. How can any company have confidence in a leader who willfully uses incompetence as a defense to wrong doing?
    • Where are my mod points when I need them?
    • I've often thought this myself. While they're at it they should request that Hurd be de-inducted from the Bay Area Business Council's Hall of Fame. Then they should fire themselves and give back the salaries they drew while serving on the board.
    • Sarbanes-Oxley? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Futaba-chan ( 541818 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:38PM (#16169221)
      More to the point, wasn't the whole point of Sarbanes-Oxley that it's Hurd's *job* to know about the things he's claiming not to? "I didn't know what my subordinates were doing" isn't supposed to wash any more as a valid excuse, at least not under the law.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by maxume ( 22995 )
        Sarbanes-Oxley is all about accounting and financial reporting; it upped the bar for what is considered acceptable practice, and also made the officers more responsible for statements made in financial documents. Reading it(http://www.legalarchiver.org/soa.htm), there is some mention of increased penalties for fraud(in Section 8), but it doesn't really seem to relate back to this sort of activity, but more towards lying to shareholders and the like, not claiming plausible deniability about the methods used
        • by sarf ( 1004961 )
          Perhaps it is onerous, but at the same time, this was not Jane Doe at Accounting doing the deed, this was a person in his immediate neighborhood. Why should he get more leniency than someone further down the chain? Saying "I did nothing, and made very sure I knew nothing" about something you obviously suspected was bad is not a good policy, unless of course only board members can do this and ordinary people can't, because then it becomes a different thing. All I hear about board members is that they get s
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by maxume ( 22995 )
            The problem is that the difference between him not trying very hard to understand the full extent of the investigation and Dunn hiding the full extent of the investigation from him is never going to be anything other than a he said she said.
        • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

          It would seem rather onerous to hold the CEO of a corporation with literally thousands of employees [criminally] responsible for the actions of all of those employees

          Why would this seem rather onerous, if we accept their claim that they deserve hundreds of millions recompense for the positive actions of those thousands of employees? I say, you want to be compensated for their successes, then you take the responsibility for their failures as well.

          Mart

          • by maxume ( 22995 )
            I don't think that they get those millions in reward for their success, I think they get them because the field of people that are considered able to run such a huge company is really small and companies that make billions a year are incredibly risk averse, so the top CEO's, that at least appear less risky, command a huge premium over others.

            I'm not sure it really makes that much sense that corporations act this way, but I think it is a pretty likely explanation. So they get the huge contracts because they
      • Sarbanes Oxley is about requiring 20 pages of paper work for a 1 line code change. This is fair, since we all know it was those wild programmers at Enron who were the root of the problem and not lying top executives.

        But the president can still cut a $20k check without any paperwork or even a cross-cosigner.
    • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:15PM (#16169883) Homepage Journal
      That's why I like the maritime approach to these sorts of things.
      If you want to be called "Captain" that bad, and something goes wrong, you know that the buck will stop with you.
      Somewhere in our slouching trek towards Gomorrah, we've gotten sufficiently post-modern that concepts such as "responsibility" are just another mutable social construct. "I dont feel guilty..."
    • Maybe the board of directors think successfully claiming incompetence to cover up illegal and immoral activities shows a high competence in of business ethics?
    • by kahei ( 466208 )
      How can any company have confidence in a leader who willfully uses incompetence as a defense to wrong doing?

      Well, it depends on whether, by doing so, he produces a return in the form of higher share price or dividend payments.

      If he does, then it's easy to see why they have confidence.

      If you were an investor, which would you prefer -- a CEO who's a pretty cool guy, or a CEO who uses every degrading, demeaning plea, threat, and trick to increase the value of your investment?
      • If you were an investor, which would you prefer -- a CEO who's a pretty cool guy, or a CEO who uses every degrading, demeaning plea, threat, and trick to increase the value of your investment?

        What kind of silly question is that? You act as if the 'pretty cool guy' can't increase the value of your investment without acting unethically.
    • Maybe Hurd figures he is the Reagan in this piece?
    • Shouldn't he be doing something useful about it? Like getting ready to move to someplace beyond the reach of extradition?

      Doing "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" from a CEO translates to "I'm guilty as hell" to me, and very probably to the state AG who is aggressively pursuing this.

      As for the rest of us, is anybody planning to continue doing business with them?
  • ... standard corporate ass covering than leadership ...

    Isn't that what they teach in business schools these days? Falling on your sword is so old school these days when that job can be outsourced to someone else down the ladder.
  • by Inhibit ( 105449 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:09PM (#16169003) Homepage Journal
    So he's already moved on to the second envelope? Did I miss the part where he blamed Carley Fiorina for everything? :)
  • One of the most notable being Bill Clinton's memorable "I Smoked Pot But I Didn't Inhale", closely followed by his Monica-and-cigar experiments.

    Z.
    • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) * on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:14PM (#16169471) Homepage Journal

      The difference being, of course, that "I didn't inhale" and "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" were matters that could just as well have been kept private without significant financial repercussion or threat to our privacy and freedom, but for the stupidity of those who act out of blind hatred.

      Have we really lost all sense of not only what's right and what's wrong, but what's important and what's not?

      I know, dumb question.

      • Well, what happened after Bill Clinton got demonized by the RayPooBlicans is that they got a good foothold on a way to discredit him and his legacy... They were looking for ANY angle to bring him down, as he had all the makings of a truly loved president. There was definitely a big contingent of middle-Americans who took offense to the fact that he did not appear to be willing to be brave enough to own up to it.

        Forget for one moment all of the Tom DeLays, Enron-connected politicos, Jack Abramoff's and so
        • Your point about bush winning because "he's one of us" seems to contradict your earlier point that clinton was such a loved president. In fact, in the case of both cases, the sentiment held by the vast majority of either of their supporters was tolerance, and "at least he's not {x}."

          You've got to face the fact that very few people vote *for* a president anymore. It's the mechanism of voting against the other guy that keeps the two-parties in power. Think about how many times you've heard someone from eit
      • Well, I'm not an American, nor do I follow US politics closely, but to me, the real issues in the whole Clinton/Lewinsky thing was trust/character. ie: if a man will breach his marriage vows, hopefully one of the most important committments made it his life, what will be the strength of his committment to keep his word to me?

        So I do regard a man's faithfullness to his wife to be important when deciding how to vote/who to do business with etc etc. I have yet to see the man who acts without integrity in his p
        • by Skye16 ( 685048 )
          Piffle. I would hazard a guess to say that a fair share of the populace forsakes their marriage vows at one point or another. Just look at the divorce rate, for one. That doesnt even take into consideration all the marriages with affairs and extramarital dalliances that continue along for some wack-ass reason or another.

          At best, the attempts to demonize Clinton on his absolutely horrific choice of -ho- merely brought out societys clearly hypocritical double standard concerning such events. Otherwise alo
          • Piffle. I would hazard a guess to say that a fair share of the populace forsakes their marriage vows at one point or another.

            The fact that many people break their vows (their word) does not make someone who does so any more honourable or trustworthy. He swore an oath to his wife, he broke it. When elected President, he ... *drum roll* swore an oath ... see the trustworthiness connection yet? Mind you, I was intending to give my own view of the situation, not analyse republicans or anyone elses motives fo
            • How do you know that he didn't have an agreement with Hillary that allowed him to receive blowjobs from interns? I mean, he'd already cheated before, and she hadn't divorced him yet.

              You really have no idea what sort of relationship they had, or whether or not they had any 'oaths' between them. They may very well have decided to keep an open relationship of sorts. Hell, their wedding vows may have included "and feel free to sleep with as many other people as you want."

              The oath I'm more concerned about is
              • The oath I'm more concerned about is Bush's sworn oath to uphold the US Constitution.

                As I said, I don't judge integrity by party politics. Even if Bill and Hillary had an agreement that allowed adultery, he still lied under oath. I don't really understand why anyone would trust him, but I guess I could see that people might say that they trust someone else less, and consider him the best of a bad bunch. Not much of a political situation if the best you have lies under oath.

                You really have no idea what
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Skye16 ( 685048 )

              The fact that many people break their vows (their word) does not make someone who does so any more honourable or trustworthy.

              I absolutely agree. My point was that, if the divorce rate is over 50%, we can probably safely assume that at least 25% of the population who did engage in marriage vows broke them (assuming here that *only* one party desired the divorce). I have no idea what percentage of people have gotten married at one point or another, but just a rough estimate says "quite a lot". I would

              • ...still indicitive of how much our word means to us, collectively, as a society.

                agreed :(

                Whether Policeman Bob bangs 16 women in one year, while he's married, is moot. We still expect him to do his duty when he's in uniform.

                I understand what you're saying here, I just don't think that integrity is something that can be practised part time. It's a pipe dream to think that men who are dishonest in their personal affairs will perform public duties honourably. That's why things like that are considere
        • Well, I'm not an American, nor do I follow US politics closely, but to me, the real issues in the whole Clinton/Lewinsky thing was trust/character. ie: if a man will breach his marriage vows, hopefully one of the most important committments made it his life, what will be the strength of his committment to keep his word to me?

          I don't think its as simple as that. It depends on the person's priorities. There are some out there that would never compromise their professional ethics, but their personal ones are
          • Think about it carefully, and you'll start to see it doesn't make much sense to have any legal force behind marriage at all. Why make it difficult for two people that no longer care about each other to go their seperate ways?

            Recently I was talking to my wifes grandfather. He was telling me about what he was going though looking after his ill wife and how hard it is. Then he smiled and said "But I don't mind. 60 years ago I said I'd look after her." That's the type of person I want to be, and it's the typ
    • Also prior art for phony "questions" at press conferences [washingtonpost.com], like what the article accused Hurd of doing. Both parties will keep doing it as long as we put up with it.
  • Engineers do it to (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:09PM (#16169007)
    I work at an high tech company with a reputation for good engineering. The engineers do the same thing. It's really a sign of arrogance more than evasion. These people truly believe that they couldn't have possibly done something wrong, so it must be someone elses fault.
  • by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:23PM (#16169113) Homepage Journal
    The writer has obviously never been a CEO, or even stopped for more than ten seconds to think about what it might be like to be one, and what the reponsibilities are.
    ( Quotes from TFA are in italics )

    ... Condemning actions, pushing out wrongdoers and apologizing for mistakes counts as leadership right after a scandal breaks. Three weeks in it looks like standard corporate ass covering.

    Maybe he likes to think before he acts, maybe even consult a lawyer or two. Do the stockholders really want a CEO who shoots from the hip? Especially on issues as important as this? We're talking about a multi-million dollar company here that is front page news. The decisions are big, maybe big enough to make or break the company. I'd take a week or three to think if I were making decisions on that scale.

    Second, he took no questions, choosing instead to let an investigative attorney who works for him, do the talking.

    He hired a pro to do the job right. I'll bet he hires a geek to run his IT dept, and an accountant to do his bookkeeping. Probably even has a professional janitorial staff clean his office. One of the primary rsponsibilities of management is to find good people and then delegate.

    Lastly, he refused to do the obvious: acknowledge that HP's leak investigation was a bad idea from the beginning.

    When you have an employee who is doing things that - in your opinion as managment - hurt the company, it is your obligation to the stockholders to find out who it is and stop them. Whether they be leakers, thieves, whatever, the CEO is responsible to the shareholders. Had nothing been done to stop leakers, and had that course of action turned out badly, then he looks even worse.
    • by working dog ( 942266 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:57PM (#16169355)

      Maybe he likes to think before he acts, maybe even consult a lawyer or two. Do the stockholders really want a CEO who shoots from the hip? Especially on issues as important as this? We're talking about a multi-million dollar company here that is front page news. The decisions are big, maybe big enough to make or break the company. I'd take a week or three to think if I were making decisions on that scale.


      No, stockholders want a CEO who can best lead their company through difficult business cycles as well as the inevitable ethical or political flareup. Seeing that spying on corporate directors and reporters using fraudulent means (pretexting), attempting to install malicious software on others computers via e-mail is hardly unethical hardly requires a week or three to wrestle with. Stockholders of multi-BILLION dollar companies do not pay their CEO's tens of millions of dollars (options included) to let things spin out of control in the press for several weeks while they ponder options.


      He hired a pro to do the job right. I'll bet he hires a geek to run his IT dept, and an accountant to do his bookkeeping. Probably even has a professional janitorial staff clean his office. One of the primary rsponsibilities of management is to find good people and then delegate.


      Again, CEO's are the public face of the company and are paid accordingly to be its leaders. In times of crises, leaders are looked to for answers and guidance. If yo're "hiding" behind lawyers you're abrogating that role, implying that maybe you don't have what it tkaes to be a CEO at best, or what your company has done is fairly illegal at worst.


      When you have an employee who is doing things that - in your opinion as managment - hurt the company, it is your obligation to the stockholders to find out who it is and stop them. Whether they be leakers, thieves, whatever, the CEO is responsible to the shareholders. Had nothing been done to stop leakers, and had that course of action turned out badly, then he looks even worse.


      Again, these are not employees of HP. They are directors from the board of directors responsible for the overseeing the management and company operations on behalf of the stockholders (they're voted in by the stockholders) and while they receive compensation as directors they are not employees in the strict sense. If you are spying on your directors one can only imagaine what you are doing to your rank-and-file employees.
      • If you are spying on your directors one can only imagaine what you are doing to your rank-and-file employees.

        Worse yet, what is someone like that doing to competitors employees? Industrial espionage is reality.

    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:02PM (#16169385) Homepage
      Maybe he likes to think before he acts, maybe even consult a lawyer or two. Do the stockholders really want a CEO who shoots from the hip? Especially on issues as important as this? We're talking about a multi-million dollar company here that is front page news. The decisions are big, maybe big enough to make or break the company. I'd take a week or three to think if I were making decisions on that scale.

      I've been bitten by CEO's shooting from the hip before, so I completely understand that concern. However, the CEO is looked to for leadership in times of crisis. Arguably, leadership is the primary role of the CEO. This one let things stew and flounder for weeks. Two days is a reasonable timeframe to compose a well thought-out, well-informed response. Three weeks is not helpful in a leader.

      Sometimes you do need to act quickly to stem off negative press and recover from disasters. He did not.

      Second, he took no questions, choosing instead to let an investigative attorney who works for him, do the talking.

      He hired a pro to do the job right. I'll bet he hires a geek to run his IT dept, and an accountant to do his bookkeeping. Probably even has a professional janitorial staff clean his office. One of the primary rsponsibilities of management is to find good people and then delegate.


      True, but we're talking about a point of public perception. He definitely should have hired someone to prep him and train him about the responses to questions which may arise. But when people are questioning your integrity and your leadership, in the eyes of the public to delegate answers is to admit you are not to be trusted.

      When you have an employee who is doing things that - in your opinion as managment - hurt the company, it is your obligation to the stockholders to find out who it is and stop them. Whether they be leakers, thieves, whatever, the CEO is responsible to the shareholders. Had nothing been done to stop leakers, and had that course of action turned out badly, then he looks even worse.

      As much as the legal investigations are hurting it now? The idea of discovering leakers isn't a bad things, but sicking external private investigators on journalists is going to get your company in hot water.

      And as I'm sure other posters have or will point out, the best thing management could have done to plug the leaks at HP is to stop running a sinking ship. Start treating your employees as talent rather than resources, stop outsourcing everything to the lowest bidder, encourage the culture of knowledge and exploration that HP was known for, pull back on executive salaries whenever a round of layoffs occur, and get back to making great products rather than stamping your name on something designed and built by the lowest bidders.

    • by kfg ( 145172 ) *
      When you have an employee who is doing things that - in your opinion as managment - hurt the company, it is your obligation to the stockholders to find out who it is and. . .

      . . .have them shot. It's a legal duty to the stockholders.

      By the way, why do you think they call them "directors"? It is the CEO who is the employee.

      KFG
    • Maybe he likes to think before he acts, maybe even consult a lawyer or two. Do the stockholders really want a CEO who shoots from the hip?

      He is the Chief Executive for a major company. They have in-house corporate counsel, and probably a major law firm on retainer. Consulting a lawyer takes all of fifteen minutes to set up. (According to the Newsweek article, a major law firm was involved and contacting the parties involved within hours.)

      If it took three weeks for the lawyers to craft so much as a
  • Here's the best part (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DiamondGeezer ( 872237 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:24PM (#16169119) Homepage
    All of the perpetrators involved are much, much richer than you. Not brighter. Not more ethical. Not more deserving.
    • by archen ( 447353 )
      I'm not sure what you're getting at. There are always people richer than you and not deserving. Scumbags inherit more money than I'll make over my lifetime every day. For anyone who thinks it's unusual that there are people dummber, less ethical and less deserving than you being richer than you, I got one word for you to consider: Lawers.
  • A matter of pride (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Demona ( 7994 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:31PM (#16169159) Homepage
    Partly this is the general decline in willingness to take real responsibility for one's actions, but the corporate mentality is an exceptional piece of work in this regard. It's easier to get money from a company's representatives than an actual admission of wrongdoing, and not entirely due to increasing liability concerns (ObFuckingLawyers and the CYA At All Costs BS).

    It borders on pathological, and is perhaps the biggest day-to-day frustration in dealing with these people. Bad enough when someone's incompetence and/or malicious intent causes me harm, but any rational person quickly reaches the point where their only desire is to go immediately to their offices and beat in their skull with a blunt instrument, screaming all the while that all you want is for them to FUCKING ADMIT THEY FUCKED UP.

  • by gregorio ( 520049 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:44PM (#16169267)
    The president of my country and his group broke the law hundreds of times, and covered a lot of crimes, including murder, and got away using the exact same excuse. They just pay someone else to do the dirty work, and when the person is caught, they fire him, acting all honest and justice-seeking for firing someone involved in a wrongdoing. Except that the wrongdoing fitted only to his own interests. Yet they say that the people that got arrested were doing it without their knowledge.

    Power corrupts.
    • Yeah, one would figure that clear violations of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, 50US1802 and 50USC1805 would be enough...

      Welcome to The New America: We have Torture, Secret Prisons, and Domestic Spies the Nazis and Commies would have given their right tit for.
    • The earliest place I read of the concept is in "The Prince".

      Basic "Bad Lieutenant" strategy.
  • by abb3w ( 696381 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:19PM (#16169499) Journal

    I took a couple random anthropology classes back in college. One concept that was passingly mentioned was the common classification of cultures as shame-cultures [wikipedia.org] versus guilt-cultures [wikipedia.org]. To suit my argument, I will grossly oversimplify to say members of a guilt society feel bad if they do something wrong, but those in a shame society only feel bad if anyone finds out what they did. It seems to me that the dangers of corporate liability is begining to develop something even nastier (IMHO) than a shame culture. Corporate executives feel bad not if they do something bad, or even everyone believes they did something bad, but if they have to admit that what they did was wrong.

    An actual anthropologist might have better insights, but this doesn't look much like "progress" from where I sit.

    • I like this line of reasoning. I think the term for the culture that is developing would be a 'liability culture'.

      Parent's admited oversimplification left out an important fact, though: that guilt and shame are not mutually exclusive. As presented, they appear to be alternatives on the same level. I suggest that they are on different levels, that the altenatives are between guilt and no guilt, between shame and no shame.
      Ideally, in a perfect society, guilt should be enough. Each person ought to be
    • by archen ( 447353 )
      Well I would think this is a natrual result of the society we've engineered for ourselves. Hard to feel shame when no on every ostracises anyone for anything - even when deserved. Hard to feel guilt when you can absolve yourself of all responsibilities. The last resort is the criminal justice system, but for someone that high up on the totem pole it's hardly a real threat.
  • More on Mark Hurd (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I made this comment [slashdot.org] a while back on Mark Hurd's background when HP, Carly Fiorina and Mark Hurd were discussed.

    He is just a cost cutter, who knew how to play the media and analysts. That was his forte as NCR's CEO. HP is just too big for him. NCR is the size of just the printer division at HP. 10X orders of magnitude.

    Now, his incompetence is showing: I didn't know. I didn't order it. I did not know the details.
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:09PM (#16169833) Homepage Journal
    Yet one more reason to vote with your wallet and choose products which are not HP. Carly may be history, but her legacy is still affecting the company's business practices.
  • What is this “tracking software” supposedly sent via email? A BackOrifice server named NakedPictures.jpg.exe? A single pixel invisible .GIF hotlinked from one of their web servers that they expected the reporter to blindly forward to people? Anybody have any idea what is being referred to here?

    • The press has reported this:

      Regarding the false email tips, Fried and Kerstetter reported:

      A later e-mail from that same address included an attachment believed to have contained marketing information about a new HP product. That attachment, government investigators told Kawamoto, is believed to have had the ability to track the e-mail, notify the sender if it was opened, and tell the sender if the e-mail was forwarded and to which IP address it had been forwarded. Sending Kawamoto an attachment like t

  • And to think that we used to consider the cold war spy games of surveillance, deception, redirection and lies as nasty stuff.
  • Ok so HP went too far, not sure if law was broken, but George Keyworth's blabbing to a reporter started this. Considering that members of a board of directors often get paid big bucks for attending a few meetings, plus first-class expenses, they owe a fiduciary responsibility to the share holders they are working for and not divulging company information to a reporter. Often boards just go along with the CEO for fear of being kicked off the board and loosing the big bucks they get for little time or work.
  • Come on guys, cut him some slack.

    Mark Hurd clearly said that he takes full accountability to drive the actions to set it right [theregister.co.uk].

    Carefully chosen words ...
  • Gee, that's funny. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @12:05AM (#16172303) Homepage
    I was always taught that ignorance was not an excuse in the eyes of the law. If you're charged with a certain degree of responsibility (over seeing a number of corporate affairs, driving a vehicle), you're responsible for making sure everything is ok (that these corporate affairs are in order, that the vehicle is registered and insured, etc).

    Nail these people to the wall.
    • Ignorance of the law is no defense, but ignorance of the facts might be defense.

    • If ignorance is no excuse for not being able to follow tax laws which even the people in charge of understanding and giving advice on (the US IRS) can misunderstand upwards of 20% of the time, why is it a reasonable excuse for a someone presented with the information who refused to read documents given him discussing the actions and left meetings discussing the spying? MH could have and should have known what was going on, and chose to be ignorant. If you knowingly evade knowledge, shouldn't that be analogo
  • We have a system that punishes honest people who make mistakes. If you make a mistake, and are honest about it, you can get fired. If you make it someone else's fault, and are good at it, you survive until promotion. Wash, rinse, repeat. Add to this the Peter Principle [wikipedia.org], and you get corporate leadership that statistically speaking is promoted beyond its ability, and very good at not taking the blame for things.
  • I'm done with your products. I'm tired of your 500 MB Print Drivers anyway. But more importantly, we the consumers, have to take a stand where you'll notice: at the bottom line. So from now on, you're dead to me. I'll buy from a competitor.

    Get Bent!

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