HP considered placing spies in the offices of US newswires and newspapers as part of its attempt to plug media leaks from its boardroom.
The New York Times reported that the company looked at the possibility of placing investigators acting as clerical staff or cleaners at the news outlets’ offices, which included those of the Wall Street Journal.
The plants could then try to find out where the leaks were coming from.
The New York Times said the plan was considered by senior HP staff at the beginning of the year when they were presented with a feasibility study on the operation.
The paper, which has learned of the plan from someone with knowledge of the HP spying operation, said it is not known whether HP and its outside investigators sanctioned the planting of fake clerical staff or cleaners at the targeted offices.
HP chairman Patricia Dunn, who helped oversee the company’s attempts to stop the media leaks, has already agreed to step down as chairman in January, following the fall-out from the scandal.
Two other HP directors have also resigned from the board, including one who admitted to being involved in the media leaks.
Dunn and another senior HP employee have been asked to appear before a US House Committee to explain their roles in the affair later this month.
California state prosecutors said they have evidence to press charges against HP employees over the spying, which saw outside investigators working for the company accessing the phone records of targeted individuals without their permission.
Vote for your IT greats
Who have been the most influential people in IT in the past 40 years? The greatest organisations? The best hardware and software technologies? As part of Computer Weekly’s 40th anniversary celebrations, we are asking our readers who and what has really made a difference?
Vote now at: www.computerweekly.com/ITgreats