Patricia Dunn, HP Chairwoman During Pretexting Scandal, Dies
Patricia Dunn, who was HP board chair when an internal investigation into media leaks erupted in controversy following exposure of illegal investigative techniques, died following a battle with cancer.Patricia Dunn, who was chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard when the board of directors was hit with accusations of spying on not only directors but also journalists in an effort to curtail leaks to the media, has died following a battle with ovarian cancer. She was 58. Dunn joined HP's board of directors in 1998, and took over as chairwoman seven years later following the resignation of HP CEO Carly Fiorina in 2005. A year later, the board of directors was embroiled in controversy when it was discovered that, in hopes of shutting leaks of information to the media, HP had hired private investigators who used a method called pretexting designed to find the source of the leaks.
The goal of the internal investigation was to find who from the board was talking to the media about the details of closed directors meetings. Pretexting is a method by which a person pretends to be the owner of a cell phone in order to obtain billing records from that cell phone. As the scandal unfolded, it was determined that not only had this illegal method been used to obtain the records from board members, but also from some reporters with The Wall Street Journal, CNET and BusinessWeek, to whom most of the information was leaked.