HP private eyes fined US$600,000

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HP private eyes fined US$600,000

The four private investigators involved in the HP spying scandal have been fined a total of US$600,000 by a US court..

The scandal came to light in September 2006 when Newsweek revealed that HP chairwoman Patricia Dunn had hired investigators to uncover the source of a boardroom leak at HP.

Dunn's move followed the publication on Cnet in January 2006 of HP's long term strategy.

Private investigators obtained the phone records of several journalists and members of HP's board using a technique known as 'pretexting'.

This involved deceiving phone companies into thinking that the request was coming from the bill payer, a clear violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Patricia Dunn and HP general legal counsel Ann Baskins lost their jobs over the affair. Gaskins invoked the Fifth Amendment when a case pursued by the Federal Trade Commission was brought to court.

The latest court judgment states that Joseph and Matthew DePantes, of Action Research Group, are to pay US$67,000.

Bryan Wagner was ordered to pay US$428,000, and Cassandra Selvage, of Eye in the Sky Investigations, was ordered to pay US$110,000.

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