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back to article US Supremes trash AT&T's claims to 'personal privacy'

The US Supreme Court has made it official: AT&T and other corporations have no right to personal privacy under the Freedom of Information Act. In a unanimous ruling (PDF), the high court shot down arguments that the Federal Communications Commission shouldn't have to turn over documents compiled during an investigation from …

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Finally, a judgement that makes sense.

For far too long, corporations that wield far too much unelected and unaccountable power have hidden behind this 'corporations have the same rights as people' bullshit. It's about time somebody put this to rights. These organisations have disproportionate control of society and its laws and need to be reined in and made more accountable. Bravo that judge!

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Anonymous Coward

Can you hear me now?

Yep, that's me, laughing

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Happy

except that reference belongs to Verizon, not AT&T.

Hur-hur.

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Logical

... there's ... there's just ... there's just no other word for it. Came out of nowhere.

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Another word is 'Wonderful' :)

"...We trust that AT&T will not take it personally.”

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Same punishments too?

If corporations claim the rights of people I think that they should have the

possibility of being jailed (e.g. forced to cease trading for some time) or

even executed (wound up with all assets going to the state) for heinous

crimes.

That would make shareholders very wary about who gets to be directors!

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Anonymous Coward

laughing in robes

Love it: "...We trust that AT&T will not take it personally.”

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Happy

Pity

... because if they had "personal" privacy then you could argue that they also had "personal" liability for their actions too ... this is actually a win for AT&T because without "personal" liability, no one really gets punished when the company commits a crime - like defrauding the US government.

If you or I tried that then I'd bet we'd be sitting in jail pretty quickly.

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Stop

Not really.

http://www.yalelawjournal.org/the-yale-law-journal/content-pages/comparative-corporate-criminal-liability:-exploring-the-uniquely-american-doctrine-through-comparative-criminal-procedure/

There is such a thing as corporate criminal liability in the US.

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you sure about that?

"If you or I tried that then I'd bet we'd be sitting in jail pretty quickly."

I suspect that you have an unwarrantedly high opinion of the efficiency of the assorted Fed law enforcement agencies.

_Some-one_ *might* be in jail _sooner or later_. Whether or not it's the correct someone and how long it takes for the Feds to notice that there might be a problem, much less to actually do something about it, are open questions.

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Happy

True

Corporate liability does exist but let's face it almost nobody goes to jail ... unless they steal a lot of money from important people anyway. Stealing from the poor and accidentally killing a few people's not that big a deal if you are a corporation ... that is, as another punter noted, assuming that anyone gets around to noticing.

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To avoid embarassing FOIA requests

don't do things you would be embarrassed by.

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@tony2heads

In the US corporations can be hauled into court and face criminal charges. At that point the company can be fined , assets seized and shut down.

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In the UK, and other jurisdictions....

The directors can be held personally liable for a company's illegal actions.

In the USA, directors can too, if they undertake actions which "pierce the corporate veil" (among other things this includes setting up multiple shell companies to avoid being detected as the entity behind a scam, etc - but it's almost never used against crooks.)

Companies are required by law to act in a way which in a "person" would be classed as sociopathic (maximise personal reward ("the shareholders") with no regard to impact on 3rd parties)

Unfortunately that means that they attract sociopaths to the upper levels - hence the many stories of companies circling the drain whilst management are still paying themselves huge bonuses. These people believe their personal welfare trumps the company's and in the process can easily wreck the company.

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Pirate

Corporations

"Congress has defined the word “person” to include corporations as well as individuals"

A travesty that should have been revoked long ago. If corporations are persons then they are sociopathic "persons" that need serious treatment.

See the film "The Corporation"

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Pint

"We trust that AT&T will not take it personally"

I never realised that Chief Justice John Roberts even had a sense of humour.

Touché!

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Happy

Roberts was in good form the day afterwards

cracking some jokes with fellow judges./

Good to see humour in a senior court.

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