September 19, 2006
Prosecutorial Pretexting
Posted by Christine Hurt

Over the weekend, the California attorney general Bill Lockyer announced that there was ample evidence to indict individuals both within and without H-P for activities involving "pretexting."  So far, these indictments have not been issued.  Are California prosecutors involved in their own pretexting?  If they announce to the media that there are indictments forthcoming, they have a lot of leverage with the individuals they question to gain access to more information.  Although investigators are not pretending to be other people in order to gain information, they may be pretending that the laws against pretexting are stronger and more specific than they really are.  Although investigators may take the position that pretexting is illegal under broad California laws, some doubt must exist because a law that would have specifically banned pretexting languished in the California legislature all year.  In addition, new bills have been introduced in Congress to ban pretexting, hardly evidence that we are confident of pretexting's current illegality.

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