HP Settles Civil Complaint for $14.5M

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 12-07-2006

Hewlett-Packard has settled its civil case with the California Attorney General's Office, and the company will pay $14.5 million in fines but admit no liability, according to a statement released Dec. 7.

In addition to the fine, HP, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., agreed to implement a series of legal and ethical measures to ensure that any future internal investigations into boardroom leaks are conducted according to California law, the company said in a statement.

For more on this topic, see HP Hires New Ethics Chief

In turn, California prosecutors will not pursue civil charges against the company or its current and former employees and members of the board of directors. The civil case accused HP of violations of the state's privacy laws.

The case stems from an internal investigation by HP that started in 2005 to identify the source of leaks from the company's board of directors to various news organizations. Later, in 2006, the investigation started again and HP officials were accused of hiring investigators who may have used "pretexting" to find the source of those leaks to the press.

Pretexting is a controversial method of using a person's Social Security number and other personal information to trick telephone companies into giving investigators private telephone records.

Read the full story on eWeek.com: HP Settles Civil Complaint for $14.5M