On Tuesday The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against AT&T’s claim that personal privacy rights prevent the federal government from disclosing records that might reveal corporate wrongdoing to the public.
AT&T probably doesn’t agree, but their court loss was a good thing for everyone.
According to Bloomberg, the justices unanimously prevented corporations from invoking a stipulation in a federal document-disclosure law that protects against violations of “personal privacy.”
People from all backgrounds, from the technology geek to the computer illiterate, should be glad that they didn’t win.
This case, which pitted AT&T against the Federal Communications Commission was a significant one because if AT&T would have won, it would have set a legal precedent where courts view the privacy rights of corporations the same way they do people.
This would have meant that corporations of all sizes would have legal ground to make claims that they have personal privacy rights just like people.
Sanity finally makes a return to the warped world that crony capitalism has created.
“When it comes to the word ‘personal,’ there is little support for the notion that it denotes corporations, even in the legal context,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. He later said, “We trust AT&T will not take it personally.”
Note the subtle dig at AT&T in the form of Chief Justice Roberts’ pun.
Why is this important? Well, it’s important because most of the telecommunications/big media giants have way too much power and influence.
You see, the current economic system that “too big to behave” companies like AT&T (not just banks anymore) use is referred to as capitalism, but it is nothing like real free market capitalism. In actuality they employ a system where doing profitable business means that you have to pay to play.
This means for AT&T to get all of the sweet, unfair economic advantages they crave, they have to become “buddies” with government officials and do their bidding from time to time. This means doing favors, campaign contributions, providing hookers, cocaine, whatever it takes to make a strong bond between cronies.
The same is true for government officials; they pass laws that usually favor mega corporations in some financial way, and this helps the corporations snuff out their competitors. When you have the government helping you dominate your market with secret favors they grant, it’s pretty easy to sit at the top with no real challenges from competition.
AT&T benefits from some type of government favors because they have been caught in the past helping the National Security Agency spy on their customers for “national security” reasons. Odds are that AT&T wanted a favor from government that would help them continue their dominance, and giving in to the NSA’s demands was the only way to make it happen.
This AT&T court loss makes it harder for them to hide information from the public; this means that in the future it will be harder to hide their dealings with the government because they cannot claim personal privacy protections.
A lot of people deal with AT&T on daily basis either because they get Internet from them, or because they have a phone on their network. They have access to a lot of people’s information and the data they access (political information) via their phones and Internet. There are reasons to think that AT&T cannot always be trusted with this information.
Maybe AT&T doesn’t have anything to hide anymore, but when when we see them trying to convince the Supreme Court to give them the same privacy rights as people, it looks fishy. Especially when we know about their dealings with the NSA.
AT&T has a shady history and they have been caught red-handed doing the police state surveillance bidding of the government. The fact that they have one less excuse to hide behind is a good thing.