2006 tech moments


This year had its moments alright, and this article highlights some of them – from the advent of mobile video, to the flaming laptop controversy.

Let’s start with the HP spy case, though. For sham, subterfuge and sheer skullduggery, that whole sorry fiasco has few rivals this year.

Back in 1999 – the halcyon days of IT- the tech trade media carried several stories about the lucrative salaries and signing bonuses offered to top IT execs – especially those lured away from rival companies. (I remember doing such a piece myself).

In 2006, some of those worthies grabbed the headlines again…but for the wrong reasons, such as falling foul of the law, and vying with one another for longer prison sentences.

Who Dunn it?

Talking about falling foul of the law – there’s an old legal doctrine that states “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Perhaps the top guns involved in HP spying scandal were not aware of this basic principle of jurisprudence.

Many have commented on the episode’s uncanny resemblance to Watergate…both episodes had that element of bleak humour.

There was, for instance, that self-righteous posturing by the persons involved in both scandals. “I’m not a crook,” exclaimed Richard Nixon in his infamous November 1973 televised address when Watergate had reached its climax. Yeah, right.

Fast forward 33 years to the congressional testimony of Patricia Dunn, the deposed former chair of HP.

Quizzed about the questionable techniques used to obtain the personal phone records of directors, employees, reporters and their families from telecom companies, Dunn responded: “My understanding was that these records were publicly available.”

“You honestly believed that it was that simple – that anybody in the world can call up and get them,” asked her questioner, Republican Congressman from Oregon, Greg Walden.

“It really didn’t surprise me,” Dunn said.

Now why do we get that nagging sense of d

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