The burgeoning scandal at Hewlett-Packard is undoubtedly tied more directly to privacy concerns and the Constitution than corporate governance and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but that doesn't mean some lessons don't spillover from one legal area into the other.

Silicon Valley icon HP has admitted to spying on the personal phone records of its board of directors and members of the media in an effort to root out a leaker. The company engaged in "pretexting" -- a term it's safe to say few had heard of two weeks ago -- which means investigators for the company called up phone companies and impersonated directors requesting their own records, a process that required little more than the last four of a director's Social Security number and a fake email address.

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