Quote of the Day - Its pretty rare for companies to have a snooping policy, although it is getting more common. - David Ellis
What's In Those Privacy Disclosures From AT&T?
You likely don't read the privacy disclosures that periodically come in the mail from various companies, and you likely haven't read the one from AT&T. Even though Cingular and the Yellow Pages are part of AT&T, Cingular wireless has its own policy as does the Yellow Pages, if you're a business customer. The policies are printed in small fonts, they usually come in nondescript envelopes that you're more inclined to throw away than open, and they're boring. In other words, full of legalese.
While I haven't talked with the attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who filed the suit against AT&T, I'm guessing that they will consider the following section to be the most troublesome part of AT&T's newly revised policy: "While your account information may be personal to you, these records constitute business records that are owned by AT&T. As such, AT&T may disclose such records to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process."
Disclosure here: I used to work for AT&T, specifically one of the Bell companies, the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia, for several years just after I graduated from college and before I went to law school. Monopoly aside, Ma Bell provided great phone service, and I've listened to many people since then complain about consequences of the breakup of (when it was called) THE phone company. There were some benefits, too. Even so, AT&T has slowly started to reassemble itself in the ensuing 30 years and may once again become the kind of monopoly Microsoft is now. Whether that's good or bad, today's privacy issue is nothing like it was then. And neither is the rest of the world.