The Washington Post reported this morning that

chief executive Mark V. Hurd approved an elaborate “sting” operation on a reporter in February in an attempt to plug leaks to the media, according to an e-mail message sent by HP Chairman Patricia C. Dunn.

Ah, the power of massive storage. 25 years ago Dunn would have handled most of the matter over the phone, out of the reach of easy recall. Of course, we are assuming the email copies the Post is relying upon are genuine, which is something else that we and they have no easy way of knowing.

Imagine a world that preserves your every gaffe in brilliant HDTV
How about a highlight reel of every college revel? Every bad haircut? Massive storage is changing the world, not always for the better.

The world’s greatest printer company has come to this?
HP is also a good storage company, and while the scandal erodes their moral standing, it appears to have no effect on the business. It can’t be good for morale though, to know that your senior executives are acting more like a paranoid Richard Nixon than Hewlett or Packard. I don’t see how former chairman Dunn can remain on the board after this latest revelation, but then you don’t have to look far to find similarly delusional people in high and powerful places.

There is a silver, or is that tin, lining
While everyone is scrambling to discern the fine line that separates the egregiously stupid from the indictable offense, the WaPo article offered this crumb of comfort:

Sending someone an e-mail file, even under false pretenses, and then tracking whether it was forwarded may violate confidentiality policies, but is probably not illegal, said Robert Seiden, chief executive of Fortress Global Investigations Corp. If the company used its program to try to access other information from Kawamoto’s computer, however, that would be a violation of federal law, he said.

I’ll sleep better at night knowing my little 120 GB hard drive is protected by federal law. Now how about protecting that tape of drunken college parties?