A man after my own heart...that's Scott Herhold, a Mercury News columnist who calls a spade a spade in today's column.
Writing about the Hewlett Packard scandal, he points out that "pretexting" is a gentle euphemism for a less than gentile activity: LYING. That's what the HP scandal is really about. Lying and deceit.
Lying to get access to someone else's private records. Spying on your own colleagues. Caring more about corporate secrecy than honor. And lying to the public about not realizing that your lies and deceits are wrong. (At least I assume that last one is a lie...but maybe HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn simply has no moral compass...no, wait a minute, that's another euphemism, isn't it? Maybe she's just a liar.)
In the future, Herhold suggests simply substituting the word "lying" whenever you see the word "pretexting" in a news article or commentary. Go ahead and give it a try. Works like a charm.