CameraGate Update: Dell Ordered to Testify

May 19, 2009 by

crimecameraIt’s well known that I am a bit of a socialmedia evangelist, the years since Katrina have shown me the power of using information technology to organize, share information, and build connectivity between people for the common good. As a result I tend to get more than a bit torqued when I run into the interface between technology and corruption, something that we’ve been getting an unhealthy dose of as “CameraGate” continues to unfold.

As Varg over at The Chicory said the other day:

But you should have left the anything having to do with crime free of your insipid hands. Because it’s something folks will quite likely pay attention to. They poke around and look into something like that. Especially after you tell an angry crowd of 5000 citizens that they are going to be an intricate part of your crime-fighting focus. People tend to get angrier after being promised something that ended up shrouded in questionable dealings.

And it amazes me that, when you knew you were meddling in the affairs of criminal justice and people’s lives were at stake, it may have been prudent for you to at least ensure the cameras worked. It certainly would have increased your chances of getting away with it. Because it wouldn’t have incited so many people to call attention to it. They may have let it slide if some high profile results had been rendered by your scam. Citizens are easily pleased like that.

Now the latest news hits- Dell Computers CEO Michael Dell will have to testify, per the Judge. The Austin Business Journal reports:

A New Orleans judge is ordering Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell to give a sworn deposition concerning his knowledge of the Round Rock company’s deal to provide crime cameras to the city of New Orleans, according to several published reports on Monday.

The same judge also set a hearing to determine if Dell Inc. should be held in contempt for failing to disclose corporate communications that show it sold camera casings to New Orleans in 2004, about two years earlier than originally thought.

At issue is a set of lawsuits facing Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) that accuse the company of participating in unfair business practices and selling cameras through a contract with the state of Louisiana that did not allow for the sale of such equipment. Southern Electronics and Active solutions–two companies that previously provided the city of New Orleans with crime cameras–filed suit against the city and Dell. In that suit, the plaintiffs claim that Dell conspired with a former New Orleans tech chief and city contractors to steal their business model. In a more recent development, the city of New Orleans last month also filed suit against Dell saying the computer-maker knew it was not following the parameters of its deal with the state.

Lets not flinch when shining a light on corruption, it is the only thing that can eradicate it if anything can. The fact that this is now reaching into these levels of power should ensure additional attention and hence a brighter spotlight, at least such is my hope.

-Loki, HumidCity Founder and Curator

Image: Mike Licht, Rights: CC2.0

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