Patricia Dunn, Hp, and the Pretext Scandal

1990 Words8 Pages
Abstract The purpose of this paper is to examine both the utilitarian and deontological considerations behind Patricia Dunn’s decision to have private investigators check the telephone records of the board members of Hewlett-Packard, and the method they used to acquire the information. In addition, these same ethical considerations will be applied to the private investigators who acquired the telephone records, the website that published the information, and the person who leaked information. The author will then offer his opinion as to whether or not Patricia Dunn should have been dismissed for her actions. Patricia Dunn, HP, and the Pretext Scandal Hewlett-Packard is without a doubt a successful company. With…show more content…
Unfortunately, they did not stop with the board members. According to, “…HP reportedly went even further, attempting to plant “spyware” onto a CNET reporter’s computer. According to The New York Times, private investigators working for HP, “... [r]epresenting themselves as an anonymous tipster . . . e-mailed a document to a CNET reporter . . . embedded with software that was supposed to trace who the document was forwarded to.” ( The actions of the investigators can now be broken into two distinct parts, and compared to the two ethics concepts we’ve been discussing. First, did their actions meet utilitarian ideals with regards to the information they received about the board of director members? In a very loose since they did. The information they retrieved did, in fact, identify the person who had been leaking the information. By discovering who that person was, Hewlett-Packard could then discipline him accordingly, keep sensitive information from the media, and ensure that they could continue producing products and keep people employed. Did they meet deontological ideals? Since they were being paid to do a job, they did have a duty to do whatever was necessary to complete that job. However, it could be argued that they had no right to do what they did. There may have been other ways to acquire the needed information, other than
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