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HP Spying More Extensive: Who Knew and When - Updated 2Xs
Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 09:10 AM EDT

We begin to learn now who knew and when, in an article in the Washington Post. They did broad background checks on their targets, but also on relatives of their targets. They tried to recover a stolen Keyworth laptop, so they could examine it. They targetted and sought phone records and fax records of relatives, like wives, of board members and reporters too. They got the records for 240 of 300 phone numbers they went after. The spyware sent to the reporter at CNET was not just to track email forwarding. It was keylogging software.

Now as to who knew and when, the Post got hold of a report by the Boston PIs:

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

The report, prepared by a consulting firm in Needham, Mass., hired to investigate leaks to the media, was sent to four HP executives, including HP's ethics director. That suggests that senior HP employees were aware of the spying tactics used as early as February. The report was sent to Kevin Hunsaker, senior counsel and HP ethics director; Frederick P. Adler, an HP information security employee; Vince Nye, a senior investigator; and Anthony Gentilucci, an HP global investigations manager in Boston

The New York Times has more gruesome details. They discussed the feasibility of planting spies in newsrooms as clerical or cleaning personnel. In January, HP's Kevin Hunsaker asked HP's Anthony Gentilucci, head of HP's investigations unit, if the cell phone records were being obtained legally and got the answer that they were obtained by "some ruse", that it was "on the edge but aboveboard" and that they used pretexting all the time in other investigatory work. "I shouldn't have asked," Hunsaker wrote back.

There just is nothing left to say.

Update There is, however, something else to report, from CNET on the timeline:

Two CNET reporters were told Tuesday that their phone records were accessed the week of Jan. 17, the week before CNET published a key story on a management and board retreat held earlier that month. A representative for Perkins said on Wednesday that Dunn told him that the stepped-up leak investigation did not start until after the Jan. 23 article was published.

"It was Tom Perkins's understanding that the CNET article triggered the investigation," Perkins spokesman Mark Corallo told CNET on Wednesday.

And MarketWatch has this:

The congressional probe into the pretexting scandal at Hewlett-Packard Co. could soon step up to another level as the chairman of the House committee investigating the matter is considering asking for special subpoena power in the case, a spokesman for the committee said Wednesday....

eparately, committee spokesman Terry Lane said the panel is scheduling another hearing about pretexting for Sept. 29. The committee plans to call as witnesses the CEOs of wireless companies Verizon Communications, Alltel Corp., Cingular, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. Federal Trade Commission Chariman Deborah Platt Majoras and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin will also be invited to testify, Lane said.

And the Wall St. Journal, for those who have a sub, has an article accessible from their home page titled H-P's Dunn Was Closely Involved In Leak Probe --Emails Point to Prime Role Of Chairman, Top Counsel In Setting Direction, Tactics," and the headline says it all:

As early as summer 2005, Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairman Patricia Dunn and General Counsel Ann Baskins helped direct the company's board-leak investigation, as part of the planning and execution of many steps of the probe, internal H-P emails suggest....

The emails indicate that the two were kept well informed of the investigation's tactics and progress by the H-P security officials who ran the probe, as well as by some of the private investigators H-P hired to assist the computer company.

It's worth getting a sub just to follow the Wall St. Journal's coverage. It's clear HP seriously miscalculated in going after journalists. They didn't like it one little bit. Now they have gotten hold of emails to and from the snoopers and HP personnel. They have an August 6, 2005 email from HP's inhouse investigator Anthony Gentilucci to Patricia Dunn, with a 3-page memo titled "Investigative Plan of Action and Questions Requiring Input." The memo was also sent to inhouse general counsel Ann Baskins, Jim Fairbaugh, HP's director of global security, and Ronald DeLia of Boston fame. The email asked for input on "intelligence gathering" involved in the 2005 investigation, code named KONA (later KONA I, when the January 2006 investigation got airborne, code named KONA II), and mentions a "tentative management briefing" on KONA set for Aug. 31. The Wall St. Journal:

It is unclear if this meeting took place. If it did, it raises the question of who else in H-P's management, including CEO Mark Hurd, knew about the extent of the leak probe in summer 2005.

They also have an email from Dunn to Gentilucci acknowleding the email and saying she'll get back to him. And the Wall St. Journal also tells us that the House Energy and Commerce Committee has asked Joe Depante, owner of Action Research Group of Melbourne, Fla., one more gumshoe firm involved in the HP snoopery, to testify at the September 28 hearing. Larry Sonsini retained Washington attorney Michael Madigan to represent him and he will testify, according to the article.

As for AT&T, a judge has just given it subpoena powers, according to SLTtoday:

AT&T, which is cooperating with a California investigation into whether investigators for Hewlett-Packard Co. broke state laws, can subpoena Internet service providers to identify users who set up false online accounts, a judge ruled.

This would be in connection with AT&T's John Does case we told you about earlier. And another target has come to light, according to Red Herring, the CTO:

The circle of Hewlett-Packard employees investigated by the computer maker has widened to include Shane Robison, the company’s chief technology officer, according to a source close to the matter at the time. ...

he source suggested HP’s decision to investigate Mr. Robison stemmed from the fact that he was considered a close ally of board members Tom Perkins and George Keyworth at a time of bitter infighting among HP’s directors.

2d Update: You will not believe this. They pretexted to get outside counsel Larry Sonsini's phone records too, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on Moneyweb:

A person familiar with the matter said Mr. Sonsini, of law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, also was pretexted in the board-leak probe.

Is there any profession that needs privacy more than a lawyer? Clients depend on their lawyers to keep their secrets. And now all his clients are looking at their datebooks and calendars and asking themselves, did Larry call me in January of 2006? And who will hire a lawyer who is known to be the subject of surveillance?

A former FBI guy who became an HP employee warned someone in the company that what was happening might not be legal:

A computer-crimes specialist with Hewlett-Packard Co. emailed his superiors this year warning that the company's investigation of board leaks -- then still in progress -- was being conducted in a manner that could be illegal, according to people familiar with the situation.

So now the investigators investigating the HP investigators will have to try to figure out who got that email and what happened next. But somebody knew there was an issue.


HP Spying More Extensive: Who Knew and When - Updated 2Xs | 195 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Off Topic
Authored by: DannyB on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 09:27 AM EDT
Posts off topic messages here.

Messages will be modded down for being on-topic.

The price of freedom is eternal litigation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here Please
Authored by: jbb on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 09:28 AM EDT
targetted => targeted.

Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make
you commit injustices.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Vicious Circle?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 09:41 AM EDT
First: I think all of this spying is worrisome, and I certainly would not
condone it.

Second: How did the Post get "hold of a report by the Boston PIs"?

Third: So the media does investigation to protect itself... So HP does
investigation to protect itself...

Fourth: Should media be investigated for their investigations?

Fifth: Yeah, I have a slight axe to grind, I was interviewed by a reporter and
their final story was completely skewed. But my bias notwithstanding, question
#2 still remains.

[ Reply to This | # ]

HP Spying More Extensive: Who Knew and When
Authored by: Stumbles on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 09:44 AM EDT
Wadya know. A US corporation using the same tactics as the current US
regime, erm I mean government... if you want to call it that. Go figure.

You can tuna piano but you can't tune a fish.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Business as Usual
Authored by: WhiteFang on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 09:53 AM EDT
Ah-HAH. The HP Way has truly died an ignomious death.

Spying was "Business as Usual" at HP.

I knew that HP issued slightly different internal memos on the same subjects to
various groups in order to determine leakage at problem groups, but this level
of spying is unquestionably illegal and immoral.

Unfortunately, they appear to have made the most of the example provided by King
Bubya. I wonder if they'll start lobbying Congress to make pretexting legal.

DRM - Degrading, Repulsive, Meanspirited 'Nuff Said.
FDA Warns Consumers Against Drinking High-Strength Hydrogen Peroxide.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Pat Dunn having her say.
Authored by: jplatt39 on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 09:53 AM EDT
Marketplace, American Public Radio's Business program had an interview with Pat Dunn two days before this whole scandal broke. She actually came off very well in it. It was part of their Conversations from the Corner Office series and if you will click on the relevent link you will find her no longer listed.

I listened to it a few times when this broke. Sigh.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Something to say
Authored by: bbaston on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 10:02 AM EDT
"There just is nothing left to say." - PJ

Something to say:

Response to SCO vs IBM proves to the Bad Guys that picking on the Linux/FOSS community is a Bad Idea.

Response to the HP Inquisition proves to the Bad Guys that picking on journalists is a Bad Idea.

PJ is both a (widely read) journalist and a (powerful) member of Linux/FOSS community.

Hey Bad Guys:
Don't pick on PJ, it's Not A Good Idea! In fact, it's a Bad Idea akin to jumping into a vat of - untruth.

imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

    "The detectives seemed to focus on allies of Thomas J. Perkins, Ms. Dunn’s board antagonist."
    Authored by: Brian S. on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 10:38 AM EDT

    I find Mr. Perkins comings and goings from the board interesting. He first joined the board in 2002 before retiring in 2004. He was then re-elected in February 2005, only to become the centre of the HP leak inquiry? Didn't HP trust their new board member?

    February 8, 2005

    Perkins rejoins HP board as Litvack resigns

    Computer maker Hewlett-Packard said Sanford Litvack has resigned from its board of directors and been replaced by venture capitalist and former board member Thomas Perkins....Litvack, an attorney and former general counsel for Walt Disney, resigned Wednesday. He had been on HP's board since 2002.... ZDnet

    Carly Fiorina resigned at the same time with a "thankyou package" that many considered undeserved:

    February 12 2005

    Fiorina leaves HP with $42 million payday..... Cnet

    Jon D. Markman on MSN called her one of The nation's worst CEOs

    Fiorina’s reign at Hewlett -- combined with that of the CEO just before her -- makes a great case study of exactly what not to do. They took a company that was fantastic at doing one thing (printers), and made it a company that is increasingly marginalized at that one thing, and truly lousy at everything else. Her stubborn, ill-conceived purchase of fading, unprofitable computer giant Compaq has utterly failed to deliver on its promise of making shareholders richer with a soup-to-nuts strategy. The printer business still brings in the majority of the earnings of the entire entity...... MSN

    Then I looked into the history of the board member which Mr Perkins replaced - Sanford Litvack:

    Disney lawsuit could ripple through Corporate America

    Lawyers for Disney shareholders will argue that CEO Michael Eisner and the board — including Ovitz — violated their fiduciary responsibilities. Shareholders allege they failed to properly scrutinize Ovitz's contract in 1995. In 1996, when Ovitz was in over his head, plaintiffs say, Disney compounded the error by letting Ovitz walk away with $140 million in cash and stock....If the court agrees with the plaintiffs, the precedent could enable shareholders of other companies to try to hold directors personally liable if they fail to pay proper attention to operational decisions — particularly, huge compensation deals.....

    The plaintiffs say Eisner and Ovitz announced the deal without consulting the board, even though only the directors could authorize the termination...Disney directors counter that the company's then-general-counsel Sanford Litvack advised Eisner that Ovitz was entitled to a non-fault termination. When Eisner raised the matter with the board on Dec. 12, before the announcement went out, "no director objected."..... USA Today

    Brian S.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    HP and Ethics
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 11:13 AM EDT

    Unfortunately the level of "ethics" and "morals" being displayed by HP is reflective of society around us. It seems it's an atitude of: you have to be ethical but I don't have to be. The ethics regarding leaking Board information as opposed to the ethics displayed by the ethics director himself is a prime example of that mentality.

    Other examples that people can relate to and possibly actually observe:

    1. Company managers using petty cash from the company for personal needs vs politicians using tax payer money for personal needs.
    2. Jaywalking - the average person doesn't have an issue with actually doing it, but watch that individuals reaction if someone jay-walks in front of them.
    3. Speeding - Observe who has an issue with speeding when their children are out on the side-walk and yet speed themselves.
    4. Lying - it's amazing how many honest people don't have a problem telling a "white" lie.
    Just a few examples, I'll let others put up more of what else fits.

    We tend to think of ourselves as civilized, yet the avg. display of "civilization" by Society is indicative we're not much more advanced, if any, then Rome was 2000 years ago. Of course, I'm not a studied Historian, Philosopher or Psychologist so the above is just my own personal opinion.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    HP Spying More Extensive: Who Knew and When
    Authored by: tknarr on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 11:32 AM EDT

    I think the "I shouldn't have asked." quote is a killer. That's a clear indication Hunsaker believes the activity's questionable, at which point he has a duty to inform Dunn both as the person she delegated the job to and as ethics director. Willful complicity, anyone?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    "I shouldn't have asked,"
    Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 12:00 PM EDT
    This is a sad comment that the Ethics Officer and a Lawyer for a company
    apparently suspected it was illegal and then regretted looking into it.

    I also wonder if the comment had other context?

    I also note in the article reference a question and answer about "state
    laws" and but answer referred to "federal laws". That would be
    enough for me to say "you didn't answer my question". Neither seems to
    be the legal opinion referred to earlier.

    I'd like to see the entire exchange, just to be sure the comments weren't taken
    out of context or sensationalized.

    I have another question, who has jurisdiction? If it is true that there are no
    Federal Laws, and if the operators were in Florida, which may not have any
    state laws, does California have jurisdiction? It seems to me there may have
    been no crime committed in California.

    I imagine we will see a federal law soon.

    Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

    "I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
    Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Isn't "Receiving stolen property" a crime?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 12:37 PM EDT
    We use pretext interviews on a number of investigations to extract information and/or make covert purchases of stolen property, in a sense, all undercover operations. This is HP's own head of global investigations saying this.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    WSJ: Dunn 'Closely Involved' In Probe
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 12:42 PM EDT

    "H-P's Dunn Was Closely Involved in Leak Probe"

    Some Juicy excerpts:
    "...H-P emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal suggest that Ms. Dunn
    and Ms. Baskins were closely involved in helping direct the course of the
    investigation. The emails indicate that the two were kept well informed of the
    investigation's tactics and progress by the H-P security officials who ran the
    probe, as well as by some of the private investigators H-P hired to assist the
    computer company."

    "Mr. Gentilucci's memo described an intensive investigation in 2005,
    code-named Project KONA, in which H-P's security officials cultivated
    confidential "informants" to develop leads on which directors may have
    met with which journalists. In one part of the document labeled "Next
    Steps," Mr. Gentilucci said he intended to "follow up" with H-P's
    vice president of media relations, Robert Sherbin, about a number of potential
    leads that Mr. Sherbin had provided him."

    "Ita erat quando hic adveni."

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The committee requested that H-P senior counsel Kevin Hunsaker and Fred Adler to attend.
    Authored by: Brian S. on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 01:09 PM EDT

    The spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee said that Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), the committee chairman, is seeking the power to issue subpoenas "off hours" without a formal committee vote to summon witnesses to testify in the probe about allegedly illegal actions H-P took to investigated leaks coming from its corporate boardroom. The committee normally has to vote on issuing such subpoenas, but will hold a vote on whether to give Barton, and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the ranking minority member on the committee, the off-hours subpoena powers. MarketWatch

    Brian S.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Sounds like much ado about nothing
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 01:28 PM EDT
    0. They did broad background checks on their targets, but also on relatives of
    their targets. PJ has done background checks on lawyers in the SCO case.
    Relatives might be a bit far, but there's no indication the checks were done
    illegally. Following up on references on a resume is a background check,

    1. HP tries to recover a stolen laptop to see what's on it. What's wrong with
    that? If my laptop was stolen, I'd try to recover it, too. It's not clear in
    the article, but it is probably a laptop that belongs to HP.

    2. They watched his home. Nothing illegal about that. I watch my neighbor's
    home all the time. Now breaking and entering would have been a problem.

    3. They used photographs of a reporter to see if that reporter met with him.
    Nothing illegal about that that I know of.

    4. They discussed the feasibility of planting spies in newsrooms as clerical or
    cleaning personnel. Nothing wrong with discussing the options. Note how the
    drive-by media neglects to give the context. For all we know, this may have
    been a brainstorming session, and this one was summarily dismissed.

    5. A guy asks if cell phone records are being obtained legally, and the answer
    he gets is that it's above board. Nothing wrong there. His reply indicates
    that he thought they were close to the edge, but driving 55 in a 55 zone is not

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Business as usual?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 02:44 PM EDT
    There's one thing left to say: if this is so awful as it looks, what hope can we
    have that it's an isolated incident?

    What if we find out that every major corporation does that sort of thing
    routinely? What if we find out that it's business as usual to spy on your
    employees at work and at home?

    What then?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    "There just is nothing left to say"
    Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 03:13 PM EDT
    Every time you think there's nothing more to say, something else comes up and
    proves that there's something more to say.

    I would not have believed a professionally managed company would behave in such
    an unethical, paranoid, uncaring of the consequences, supremely witless manner
    as, say, a Microsoft or SCOX would. And then along comes HP to prove me wrong.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Hey HP, You call that a leak problem?
    Authored by: bwcbwc on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 05:32 PM EDT
    That's not a leak problem!

    Now this. This is a leak problem!

    Ironic/Karmic that there are so many interesting/useful leaks coming out of the
    various probes of HP's leak probe. HP is being harmed far more by these leaks
    than by any of the leaks they were attempting to investigate in the first place.
    And that's without even considering the potential legal action in California and
    possibly other jurisdictions.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    HP Spying More Extensive: Who Knew and When
    Authored by: thombone on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 08:16 PM EDT
    Maybe I am dim or something but I have been trying to follow this story, and am
    left with one unanswered question that I can't seem to find the answer to.

    Why was this happening in the first place? All of the pretexting, the spying,
    the covert stuff? Why the Private Investigators? Who was spying on who and why?

    It's what I don't understand: why all of the paranoia in the first place? What
    was behind it that caused all of those execs to go batty on one another, lose
    trust the way they did, and all of that.

    In other words, what were they trying to dig up in the first place? How did it
    come to this?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Atty Gen. Bill Lockyer
    Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 09:03 PM EDT
    He is a politician and is apparently running for governor of California. He has
    just filed a suit against several car makers for polluting California's air.

    What a grandstand play.

    Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

    "I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
    Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    A Problem with Psychology [was] HP Spying More Extensive: Who Knew and When
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 20 2006 @ 11:58 PM EDT
    The problem with the HP XOs is "Psychology."

    They, the "HP XOs," are above any "Law."

    They, the "HP XOs," are above any "Ethics."

    They, the "HP XOs," can "buy" any solution
    that "fits" their budget.

    They, the "HP XOs," will pay for the "termination"
    of anyone who posesses a threat to "their
    monetary standing."

    Actually, the "HP XOs" are a laughing stock.

    They have "Royally" bungled this!

    This gives us a lesson in the "real world."

    They, "HP" did themseslves in by their oun

    This shows that other corporations are much
    more "educated" in the "arts of subtrafuge."


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Lawyers and phone records
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 21 2006 @ 02:07 AM EDT
    well, who needs their confidentiality most... I'm surprised lawyers are not
    kicking up a stink over this warrantless obtaining of phone records by your
    government... It's a complete breach of their lawyer/client confidentiality...
    the same with doctors and other medical professionals... why aren't they kicking
    up a stink as well... the confidentiality of their patients is being

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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