Ethics In Tech & Lack Thereof

Sleeping Under The Cell Tower

By Vahid Razavi

A Rotten Company

By this time CSC had long since crossed over to the dark side, if you will, by signing many highly lucrative contracts with the US military and military-industrial complex corporations, including a $186 million office automation deal with the US Air Force — the organization that has killed more innocent foreign civilians than any other armed force on the planet. In 1990 CSC won a four-year,$70 million contract with the Army Communications and Electronics Command, followed the next year by a pair of Army computer systems contracts worth over $800 million. The 1990s saw CSC ink a mammoth 10-year, $3 billion deal with General Dynamics, one of the leading military industrial complex players, while spending hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring smaller competitors in the information technology space.

Internationally, CSC also did business with some of the world’s most repressive regimes, including the brutal Shah of Iran, although the company’s most grievous human rights violations would come much later. But aside from these violations, CSC was developing something of a nasty reputation for late, over-budget or even fraudulent work. “CSC fraud” was a thing long before I ever came up with the name for my website and campaign! In fact, the US Securities and Exchange Commission First charged CSC with fraud in 1980, accusing company executives of conspiring to defraud taxpayers of more than $3 million and of bribing a federal contracting officer. The SEC indictment alleged CSC obtained inside information to help win a $100 million National Teleprocessing Services contract, then inflated the cost of some of the computer programming provided to federal agencies between 1972 and 1977.

In 2015 the SEC charged CSC and eight former executives including former CEO Michael Laphenand former CFO Michael Mancuso with manipulating financial results and concealing significant problems about the company’s largest and most high-profile contract: a multi-billion dollar contract with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). The SEC accused CSC of accounting and disclosure fraud beginning back when it learned that it would lose money on the NHS contract because the company couldn’t meet certain agreed-upon deadlines. CSC agreed to pay a $190 fine to settle the charges, with Laphen returning more than $3.7 million in compensation under the terms of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He also agreed to pay a $750,000 penalty. Mancuso agreed to return $369,100 in compensation and pay a $175,000 fine. In addition to the accounting and disclosure fraud in connection with the NHS fiasco, SEC investigators found that CSC and finance executives in Australia and Denmark fraudulently manipulated financial results of company business in those countries as well. In June 2013 British MP Margaret Hodge, chair of the parliamentary public accounts committee, called CSC a “rotten company providing a hopeless system” after its utter failure to deliver as promised with the NHS contract.

The problem wasn’t just in Britain. CSC was one of several contractors hired by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to modernize the behemoth agency’s aging tax filing system. CSC told theIRS it would meet a January 2006 deadline but failed to do so, leaving the agency without any electronic means of detecting tax fraud. CSC’s failure reportedly cost the IRS between $200-$300million. Fast-forward to May 2013 when the company found itself in hot water again, this time forced to pay a $97.5 million fine to settle a class action lawsuit filed by investors claiming it provided false statements regarding the aforementioned NHS contract.14 As bad as they are, these incidents — which mostly involved money and not human lives — pale in comparison to the human rights violations committed by CSC during the so-called war on terrorism.

Please follow and like us: