HP:"WE WILL NOT CHEAT"(YEA RIGHT)

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HP:"WE WILL NOT CHEAT"(YEA RIGHT)

 user 2006-12-13 at 1:08:00 pm Views: 70
  • #17184

    HP: ‘We will not cheat’
    HP should be ordered to do public service for its transgressions
    A
    chunk of the Hewlett-Packard spy scandal ended yesterday not with a
    bang but a snivel.A snivel, because the $14.5 million penalty the
    government has levied on HP amounts to a “tsk, tsk,” for a company with
    a $109 billion market capitalization.A snivel because the money will go
    into a kitty that the California attorney general’s office can use to
    investigate other companies. During the heat of the revelations, HP
    executives asserted that other companies have employed the same
    pretexting techniques–in some cases, even the same investigators. The
    California attorney general’s office apparently spent $350,000
    investigating the charges against HP.With the $13.5 million that HP is
    now contributing to the “Privacy and Piracy Fund” for investigating
    other allegations about lapses in consumer privacy or intellectual
    property piracy, the government could, in theory, chase down another
    half dozen or more companies that have been spying on people they don’t
    trust–whether those people happen to be board members, employees or
    journalists. Then it can scold them too–and move on.Like a grumpy
    parent, the government frequently slaps down extra regulations when
    companies have gotten out of line. Yet it’s not clear that those
    regulations benefit anyone but the lawyers who get paid to enforce
    them. The U.S. government spent more than a decade pursuing antitrust
    actions against Microsoft, to the delight of its competitors. During
    the height of that action, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates repeatedly
    said that he was more worried about some unknown upstart snatching
    Microsoft’s business than he was about government action. Like it or
    not, Gates was essentially right–and Google is proving his
    point.Threatening to chase after companies that abuse privacy
    rights–particularly when the penalties are tiny–won’t change
    behavior. Adding more regulation to HP’s internal operations will not
    change those practices, either.I’m more of a fan of public service as a
    penalty for transgressions. HP should be required to show the world the
    value of ethical behavior. How exactly should it do this? Perhaps it
    should be required to give printer cartridges to California schools
    with wrappers that say “Don’t cheat!” Maybe its executives should be
    required to write “I promise not to spy on people!” a hundred times and
    then post the papers on billboards on Highway 101.I asked some school
    kids how they would punish someone who snuck a look in a private
    notebook: they said that they should have the right to look in the
    other guy’s notebook. That’s not a bad idea–maybe HP should award
    major news organizations an all-day pass allowing journalists to poke
    into filing cabinets and e-mail queues.If you’ve got a great
    suggestion, let me know–maybe we’ll post a list and HP will
    voluntarily do the right thing.Public opinion can be the strongest
    medicine of all. We need to demand that companies do the right
    thing–and praise the ones who do it and shun those who don’t.