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Califormia AG Settles With HP over Spying Charges

December 8, 2006

The California Attorney General's Office said late Thursday it has settled civil charges against Hewlett Packard for privacy violations related to the company's spying on reporters to identify the source of press leaks believed to come from a member of their Board.

The price tag for the settlement: $14.5 million.

In what sounds quite a bit like poetic justice, the bulk of the settlement money ($13.5 million out of $14.5 million) will, according to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, be used to finance a new law enforcement fund to fight violations of privacy and intellectual property rights" and adopt corporate governance reforms.

"The Hewlett-Packard incident has helped shine a national spotlight on a major privacy protection problem," Lockyer added. "With its governance reforms, this settlement should help guide companies across the country as they seek to protect confidential business information without violating corporate ethics or privacy rights."

Of the remaining $1 million, $650,000 will go toward statutory damages, while $350,000 will reimburse Lockyer's office for costs related to this investigation.

Here's a PDF file with details of the settlement judgment.

Hmm..the relevance between the nature of the charges and the destination of what is punishment for having been accused of these charges sound a lot like a type of corporate community service.

Incidentally, if you are wondering, the settlement does not affect charges filed against five current and former HP execs in this case.

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