HP and the Pretexting Scandal

HP and the Pretexting Scandal - 1 Running head: HP AND...

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1 Running head: HP AND PRETEXTING HP and the Pretexting Scandal: Should Patricia Dunn Have Lost Her Job? TUI University
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2 HP AND PRETEXTING HP and the Pretexting Scandal: Should Patricia Dunn Have Lost Her Job? In today’s business world, information security is an essential part of operating a successful organization. In order to compete against businesses within the same market, business leaders and executives must protect information about their business which competitors could use to gain an advantage in the business market. When critical information about a business or organization is leaked out to the public, it can be very detrimental to the business. Hewlett-Packard (HP), a large company in Silicon Valley, which holds a large share of the computer market, has had its share of information protection problems. In 2006, Patricia Dunn, Chairman of the board for Hewlett-Packard, stood accused for orchestrating an investigation into a leak of information from within the board of directors. Hewlett-Packard has admitted to spying on its own directors’ personal phone records in order to find out the source of the leak. HP hired a private investigation team which engaged in an activity known as pretexting, in order to find the source of the leak. Pretexting is defined as the practice of obtaining personal information under false pretenses. Pretexters sell the information to people who may use it to get credit in another person’s name, steal assets, or investigate or sue a person. Pretexting in this case, is the act of creating and using an invented scenario, the pretext, to persuade a target to release information or perform an action and is typically done over the telephone. Pretexting is obtaining information by pretending to be someone else, and is against the law. Opportunities for pretexting are evident in law practice on a regular basis and across a wide range of practice settings. Most forms of pretexting are illegal, but there are certain settings in which pretexting is accepted. Police officers and drug enforcement officers regularly pretend to be what they are not in order to stop drug crimes. Civil rights organizations send testers to see
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3 HP AND PRETEXTING which landlords will refuse to rent property to which people, in violation of fair housing laws (Hodes, 2010). The Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) makes pretexting illegal and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The act makes it illegal to obtain or attempt to obtain, or cause to be disclosed or attempt to cause to be disclosed certain customer information relating to another person by using fraud, deceit, trickery, or forged documents. The act also makes it illegal to solicit someone else to get the information for you, knowing that they will get it by false pretense or trickery (Rasch, 2006). In today’s business environment, especially after Enron’s scandal and other business
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HP and the Pretexting Scandal - 1 Running head: HP AND...

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