Media Moves

Times: H-P tried to plant bug on journalist's computer

September 18, 2006

A New York Times story Monday about the attempts Hewlett-Packard took to discover a leak among its board members notes that the computer maker took other measures beside obtaining phone records of journalist.

Reporter Damon Darlin wrote, “Those briefed on the company’s review of the operation say detectives tried to plant software on at least one journalist’s computer that would enable messages to be traced, and also followed directors and possibly a journalist in an attempt to identify a leaker on the board.”

Later, Darlin reported, “At least one reporter, Dawn Kawamoto of the online technology news service CNET, may have been followed as part of the 2006 investigation, said a person briefed on the investigation. Ms. Kawamoto was a co-author of an article on a senior management meeting in January.

“The detectives also tried to plant software in the computer of an unspecified CNET reporter that would communicate back to the detectives, people briefed on the company review said. Ms. Kawamoto said in an interview this month that prosecutors had told her that such a ploy may have been used, but said she was not aware of any surveillance.

“Representing themselves as an anonymous tipster, the detectives e-mailed a document to a CNET reporter, according to those briefed on the review. The e-mail was embedded with software that was supposed to trace who the document was forwarded to. The software did not work, however, and the reporter never wrote any story based on the bogus document.”

Read more here.

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