POGO, along with other good government advocates, has filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case of Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T, Inc.
In the brief, we challenge a Court of Appeals' decision that the "personal privacy" exemption protecting information from release via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request could apply to corporate entities.
POGO General Counsel Scott Amey spelled out the implications of the Appeals Court's ruling in a statement yesterday:
“If this ruling stands, the public will be in the dark about how the government spends our tax dollars,” stated Scott Amey, POGO’s general counsel. “We hope that the Court sees the distinction between an individual and a company doing business with the government.”
Here's some background on the case, also from yesterday's release:
This case stems from a 2005 FOIA request by competitors of AT&T for records related to a Federal Communications Commission investigation into AT&T’s federal contracts. AT&T objected to the request and asked that certain records be withheld on the grounds of personal privacy. The FCC rejected AT&T’s argument. Subsequently, AT&T petitioned the Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which overruled the FCC, holding that corporations do have a right to personal privacy under FOIA Exemption 7(C). The FCC filed a petition for review by the Supreme Court, which was granted on September 28, 2010.
Read the brief here.
-- Bryan Rahija