Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Advantages of Paranoia

Years ago, while working on a sensitive story at Business Week, I actually hid my notes and other source materials so that they not be found by any intrusive cleaning women.

Afterwards I thought I was being a little silly, not to mention paranoid.

Not any more. The New York Times reported today that good old Hewlett-Packard (definitely not in the running for any "friend of the First Amendment" awards) was thinking of doing just that.

The company conducted feasibility studies that "are said to have included the possibility of placing investigators acting as clerical employees or cleaning crews in the San Francisco offices of CNET and The Wall Street Journal."

So I guess there is nothing wrong with a little paranoia after all.

Loathsome as Hewlett-Packard's conduct surely was, I'm having a little trouble trying to figure out if it broke any laws. I hope not. If corporate boorishness and stupidity were against the law, the penal system would break down under the strain, and we can't have that.

© 2006 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.


Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
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