Wednesday, March 2, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court: Corporations Do Not Have Personal Privacy Rights

"“The protection in FOIA against disclosure of law enforcement information on the ground that it would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy does not extend to corporations,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a 12-page decision.

He added: “We trust that AT&T will not take it personally.”"

"Corporations do not enjoy a right to personal privacy that would prevent disclosure of certain embarrassing documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the US Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

The unanimous decision came in a case examining whether telecommunications giant AT&T could claim an exemption from required disclosure under FOIA because government release of its documents to competitors would cause the corporation to suffer an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

Lawyers for AT&T argued that the company was a private corporate citizen with personal-privacy rights that protect it from government disclosure of embarrassing documents."

Christian Science Monitor: Supreme Court: Corporations do not enjoy personal privacy rights

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While I haven't been a fan (to say the least) of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding Corporate Rights ™, I am pleased that they got this one right.

Corporations are not persons. They should not have human rights. They should not be allowed to contribute to political campaigns (neither should unions in my mind).

Intelligent beings have "human rights" not the legal fiction we call corporations (this is where we veer into my personal feeling that a number of "higher animals" - thinking and self-aware species like dolphins, whales, and elephants [an example list, not a complete one] - should have essentially "human" rights).

Corporations are an economic and legal fiction created to allow people to pool resources in an ordered manner.

They have no more inherent rights than than a copy of valley of the dolls. They are a set of rules not a person, and should not be a vehicle to allow those who control them to use the benefits of asset pooling to further the narrow agenda of those very same people who control those corporations.

1 comment:

  1. "a Supreme Court decision in SANTA CLARA COUNTY V. SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY (1886) was converted (by a court reporter who happened to be a former railroad president) into a 'ruling' that corporations are persons protected by the Fourteenth Amendment"--Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine, 2010, p. 260.

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