Should Companies Have A 'Privacy' Right To Shield The Release Of Damaging Info?
from the if-a-company-is-a-person... dept
That seems like pretty interesting information, and some others thought so -- which is why a Freedom of Information Act request was made to the FCC, and the FCC agreed to hand over the documents concerning the investigation. AT&T, in response, sued the FCC, saying that releasing this info would violate the company's "personal privacy." Huh? It's hard to see how a company has "personal privacy." You can understand not releasing confidential information that involves a trade secret, or other such information. But claiming that details of an investigation of how you may have bilked the government is "private" info seems a bit absurd. If that was the case, then any company could demand that any embarrassing information never be released.
Unfortunately, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with AT&T, suggesting that the exemption in the Freedom of Information Act for "personal privacy" does, in fact, apply to AT&T as well. The new brief urges the Supreme Court review the case:
Unless the Supreme Court takes the case and reverses the Third Circuit decision, records about safety violations at a coal mine, environmental problems at an offshore oil rig, filthy conditions at a food manufacturing plant, financial shenanigans at an investment bank and many other records like these may be the subject of so-called corporate privacy claims that could result in agencies withholding those records from the public under FOIA.