March 2, 2011 | By Rebecca Jeschke

Supreme Court Backs Government Transparency Over Corporate Privacy Claims

In a powerful ruling for government transparency and accountability, the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday rejected so-called "privacy" protections for corporate entities under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). EFF and a coalition of other groups filed an amicus brief in this case urging just this result, arguing that a new definition of "corporate privacy" would lead to broad swaths of previously public records becoming hidden from view.

The case, Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T, started when the company tried to block disclosure of records about its participation in the federal government's E-Rate program. AT&T, invoking FOIA exemptions that were created to protect an individual's private data like physical address or email address, argued that it was a "corporate citizen" entitled to "personal privacy." EFF argued that this misreading of FOIA would create more delays in an already lengthy FOIA process and allow even more opportunities for corporations to block important records from the public eye, and we're gratified to see the Supreme Court agree. As Chief Justice John Roberts said in his conclusion, "We trust that AT&T will not take it personally."

Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Op-ed from EFF's @ncardozo: if your business model depends on fooling customers, it deserves to fail

Oct 6 @ 6:17pm

Facebook's name policy harms human rights activists, LGBTQ people, domestic violence survivors, and more.

Oct 6 @ 6:09pm

New Zealand confirms half the TPP countries will be forced to extend copyright term by 20 years. We have to stop it.

Oct 6 @ 3:37pm
JavaScript license information