In their January issue Harper’s published excerpts from “emails and other documents related to Project Kona II, a surveillance operation run by private investigators hired by Hewlett-Packard last January to identify a source of leaks of confidential HP information to the press.” As a part of the program, HP obtained phone records under false pretenses and spied on reporters from New York Times, BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal, and CNET News:
FROM: KEVIN HUNSAKER
Hi guys, If/when we put the tracer in an email to the reporter, is there any chance it will be discovered? Is it something a firewall could pick up, or antivirus software? Would it make it through HP’s security and get to, say, my email? If CNET knows something like that was sent to them, we could end up with some seriously bad publicity.
FROM: RON DELIA
Team, Surveillance teams were in place from 9 a.m. to noon, and no activity was observed at either residence. It appears DK has not returned from vacation. We waited in the event the family was sleeping in. However, by noon the newspapers were not picked up from the driveway. A pretext call to the residence was not answered. Surveillance activity at GK’s residence revealed no movement as well.
If this is how they treat reporters imagine how they treat their customers. —MEGHANN MARCO