The Culture of Dataveillance [7:50 am]
A look at how the erosion of our notion of the legitimacy of privacy, the expansion of technological capabilities and the assumption of the primacy of the firm is leading to some stunning actions: Phone-Records Scandal at HP - pdf
While the piece was upbeat, it quoted an anonymous HP source and contained information that only could have come from a director. HPâ€™s chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, told another director she wanted to know who it was; she was fed up with ongoing leaks to the media going back to CEO Carly Fiorinaâ€™s tumultuous tenure that ended in early 2005. According to an internal HP e-mail, Dunn then took the extraordinary step of authorizing a team of independent electronic-security experts to spy on the January 2006 communications of the other 10 directors-not the records of calls (or e-mails) from HP itself, but the records of phone calls made from personal accounts. That meant calls from the directorsâ€™ home and their private cell phones.
It was classic data-mining: Dunnâ€™s consultants werenâ€™t actually listening in on the calls-all they had to do was look for a pattern of contacts. Dunn acted without informing the rest of the board. Her actions were now about to unleash a round of boardroom fury at one of Americaâ€™s largest companies and a Silicon Valley icon. That corporate turmoil is now coming to light in documents obtained by NEWSWEEK that the Securities and Exchange Commission is currently deciding whether to make public. Dunn could not be reached for comment. An HP spokesman declined repeated requests for comment.
Republican leaders have planned to produce legislation by month’s end that would give the administration as much latitude as possible to continue the program. But that effort may be splintering. [...]
[...] At issue is the balance between congressional oversight and executive- branch latitude. In July, Specter announced what he called “a major breakthrough” when he presented legislation backed by the White House that would allow the administration to submit the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program to a secret intelligence court for review of its legality. Under the bill, the secret court that now administers surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would be permitted to review the legality of the program as a whole and not individual wiretaps, which could continue without warrants.
Republican leaders rallied around the deal, apparently believing they could portray Democratic opposition as evidence that their opponents are soft on terrorism. But since then, some Republicans have moved to toughen the terms of the agreement.