HP ponies up millions for boardroom spying
December 8, 2006
HP on Thursday agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle a civil complaint from California's attorney general that sprouted from the company's investigation into corporate boardroom leaks.
The agreement, filed yesterday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, has HP paying out millions, almost all of which is earmarked to help state prosecutors snare other companies which violate privacy like HP did over the past two years. $13.5 million of the judgement will create a new fund to assist California state prosecutors in investigations and prosecution of consumer-privacy and information-piracy violations. The remaining $1 million covers a fine, and money to reimburse the attorney general's office for its investigation.
The court document was drafted in such a way to keep HP from admitting it broke the law. The judgment's language states the document was issued by the court and agreed to by HP without
...this Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction constituting evidence of, or an admission by HP, regarding any issue of law or fact alleged in the Complaint on file herein, and without HP admitting any liability herein in so far as any other litigation regarding allegations of violations, which occurred prior to the entry of this Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction.
However, HP now has a Permanent Injunction against it that prevents the company, its subsidiaries, its directors, officers, employees, agents, independent contractors, partners and associates from
(1) Using false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, personations, or promises to obtain from a public utility any confidential, privileged, or proprietary information, including customer or billing records, in violation of California Penal Code section 538.5.
(2) Obtaining and unlawfully using personal identifying information, including social security numbers, in violation of California Penal Code section 530.5.
(3) Knowingly accessing and without permission using any data, computer, computer system, or computer network in order to (a) devise or execute any scheme or artifice to defraud, deceive, or extort, or (b) wrongfully obtain property or data, in violation of California Penal Code section 502(c)(1).
(4) Knowingly accessing and without permission taking, copying, or making use of any data from a computer, computer system, or computer network, or taking or copying any supporting documentation, whether existing or residing internal or external to a computer, computer system, or computer network, in violation of California Penal Code section 502(c)(2).
(5) Violating California Penal Code section 638, effective January 1, 2007, which prohibits the purchasing, offering to purchase or conspiring to purchase any telephone “calling pattern record or list” without the written consent of the subscriber or, through fraud or deceit, attempting to procure or obtain any telephone “calling pattern record or list,” as set forth in the statute.