Ex-Activision IT head was asked to "dig dirt" on West, Zampella

Thomas Fenady testifies that he was asked to hack phones, VM, email during 'project Icebreaker'

A court filing from the ongoing legal case against Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Frank Zampella has shown that Acvtision's former IT director, Thomas Fenady, has testified that he was asked to hack into work email, computers and phones in order to 'dig dirt' on the pair, eight months before their contract was terminated.

The revelation comes from a court document supplied to Giant Bomb and claims to show that Activision was already in the process of looking to rid itself of West and Zampella during 2009, when tensions first arose.

"Dig up dirt on Jason and Vince...we just want to get rid of them."

Thomas Fenady's testimony on the instructions of George Rose

During that period, testifies Fenady, a plan was formed under the moniker of Project Icebreaker. Activision's George Rose, then chief legal officer and now chief public policy officer, asked him to find information which would give the publisher reason to dismiss the pair, by hacking email, computers and phones.

Fenady also testifies that he was told "don't get caught doing it", but that "Bobby will take care of you. Don't worry about repercussions."

Rose denies specifically asking Fenady to "dig up dirt" but admits to the existence of Project Icebreaker, telling the court that it was a plan to snoop on email company wide as a form of surveillance, rather than specifically to target West and Zampella.

Fenady approached third parties to try and accomplish his brief. However, both Microsoft and security specialists InGuardians refused to assist with the cracking of passwords without a proper court order. The possibility of faking a fire alarm or fumigation of the building in order to keep the pair away from computers long enough for them to be accessed or imaged was also discussed, says Fenady.

If the allegations are proven, it could give West and Zampella significant traction in their case against Activision, which goes to court on May 29.

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Latest comments (8)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 10 years ago
At Imagine Software in Liverpool in the 1980s we put a reel to reel tape recorder on our sales manager's phone line.
There he was offering to take all our sales account information to one of our competitors.
So we explained to him why he wasn't working for us any more.
The next morning our office door locks had been superglued.
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Brian Smith Artist 10 years ago
These guys should work for Newscorp.
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Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia10 years ago
Corporate espionage is exciting. So, which stars do you think will play Kotick, West and Zampella in the eventual movie adaptation? :)
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Jack Lee10 years ago
Patrick "Tricky" Klepek, holding it down on the West/Zampella v. Activision reporting front. It's fitting that West/Zampella's representation went to him with this information, as he's the one who originally broke the story. Can't wait to see what happens in the trial.
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Dominic Jakube Student 10 years ago
@Bruce Everiss, So thats you in this documentry from the 80's?
I just watched this the other day, quite interesting.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Dominic Jakube on 17th May 2012 7:56pm

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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 10 years ago

I am the good looking one.


The company had a duty of care for its employees and shareholders. The sales manager was attempting to severely damage both these groups. So, in this instance, it was justified.
He was on company premises, being paid a salary to work for the company and was using a company phone to try and sell us down the river. If we hadn't taped him, which was the only way to catch him, then he would have gotten away with it.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development10 years ago
@Bruce: that's awful, how did you guys find out about his intentions before taking the initiative to monitor his calls?

Here the case could be argued, but how do we turn this into a policy that does not cross the line with privacy to create a healthy working environment?
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game10 years ago
Whether there is justification or not in the dirt digging, surely the lying in court bit is a pretty serious offence?
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