OK, hands up, those of you that thought HP was the only company who went around snooping on customers, influencers or competitors?The real assets of many large modern companies is intellectual property, locked up patents and in the heads of its employees – companies have physical security measures like CCTV, pass cards and sophisticated IT security systems.
Add to this mix the rise in industrial espionage (with an estimated
3,000 Chinese-owned US front companies engaged in industrial espionage) and white collar crime so it is a small jump to conducting pre–texting against employees. I have worked for companies were security titans like Kroll have gone to do a background check on me before I came on the payroll.
So it was no surprise when I read this piece on Reuters about lots of other companies looking over their shoulder following HewlettPackardgate. An interesting angle on this was the assertion that much of it was driven by Sarbanes–Oxley internal investigations for securities or accounting fraud, employment and discrimination matters or worker theft.
This offers great opportunities for PR consultancies looking to provide crisis communications and post-event corporate reputation rebuild programmes.
Most of these companies will exasperate the damage to their reputation by closing down and letting the lawyers run things at first, they will then send out a couple of sacrificial lambs with a limited information – which will keep rotating on a media kebab spit. By this time they will then need to spend a lot of money to consolidate and retrieve the remains of their reputation.
“You can have your Watergate, but gimme some bucks and I’ll be straight” – Fred Wesley and the JBs.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia