Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Diana Ross and the E-Rate

Who knew the E-Rate was heading for the Supreme Court? It's the FCC v. AT&T, coming to the Supremes in January, and really, it has almost nothing to do with the E-Rate. But I think the last time the E-Rate made it to the Supreme Court, they handed down the kludgy CIPA rules for libraries, so I am disquieted.

In a nutshell, the FCC investigated SBC Communications (now part of AT&T) because of some fraud (I'm pretty sure it's this case), and then a competitor filed a FOIA request to get the records of the investigation. The FCC released some of the records, and AT&T said they shouldn't have, because of the FOIA exemption for "personal privacy." The issue before the Supreme Court is whether corporations get "personal privacy."

I'm surprised that the FCC released any info. As I've mentioned before, the FCC won't even release the material collected in a PIA investigation to the applicant that was investigated. So a competitor can get the results of a fraud investigation, but an applicant can't get the results of routine application processing?

Meanwhile, I doubt the competitor who originally requested the records will have any use for them if they're ever released, since they're now six years old.

Anyway, back to the case at hand. I don't think the case will have much effect on applicants, but I'm a little afraid that the Supreme Court will grant personal privacy to corporations, and the FCC will use that decision to reinforce the shroud over the PIA process.

1 comment:

  1. I forgot all about the case, but the Supreme Court decided it on March 1, 2011:
    "Held: Corporations do not have “personal privacy” for the purposes of
    Exemption 7(C)."

    Not up on your FOIA exemptions? Exemption 7(C) covers law enforcement records the disclosure of which “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” 5 U. S. C. §552(b)(7)(C)