AT&T (NYSE: T) is fighting a new request from its shareholders to disclose government requests for customer information, saying that the inquiry is an attempt to micromanage the service provider.
According to a Bloomberg report, AT&T said in a letter it sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 5 that the inquiry was impracticable and an effort to micromanage, and that it guarded customer privacy.
Shareholders had asked AT&T to be more open about sharing information in the wake of reports that Internet companies and U.S. service providers such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) shared customer data with the government.
The proposal was made by New York State Controller Thomas DiNapoli and Trillium Asset Management in November.
"AT&T is trying to prevent the vital issue of customer privacy from coming before its shareholders," said Eric Sumberg, a spokesman for DiNapoli's office.
AT&T and fellow RBOC Verizon (NYSE: VZ) received a similar shareholder proposal in November from Trillium and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California. At that time the two organizations asked the telcos to publish transparency reports detailing how often they share information with the U.S. or foreign governments and what type of customer information is shared.
These new proposals follow the wave of controversy over a request made by the National Security Agency (NSA) for Verizon Business to provide it with its daily call detail records. That order was issued shortly after the bombing at the Boston Marathon in April.
- Bloomberg has this article
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