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HP soap opera moves to Capitol Hill

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TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: The HP soap opera moves to Capitol Hill today. A House subcommittee will hold a hearing on the spying scandal that has drawn so much attention lately. Nancy Marshall Genzer reports from Washington.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Act one, scene one in the Hewlett Packard drama occurred in 2005 when people started calling phone companies, claiming to be customers who needed to access their private information.

Prosecutors say this scene was repeated over and over again as investigators hired by HP pretended to be someone else to obtain personal information about company board members, journalists and others — a trick known as pretexting.

Now the stars of this soap opera — Chief Executive Mark Hurd, the former chairwoman, Patricia Dunn and private detectives — face tough questions at today's hearing.

World Privacy Forum Executive Director Pam Dixon says lawmakers will want to know are other companies following this script?

PAM DIXON:"Are these common practices? I'd really like to ask questions of the private investigators, and see who else has been hiring them."

The hearing could give a lift to pending legislation that would make pretexting illegal.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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