AT&T Rejects Proposal to Report U.S. Requests for User Info

AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. telephone company, opposes a shareholder resolution urging disclosures of government requests for customer information, calling it impracticable and an effort to “micromanage.”

AT&T, based in Dallas, said it guards its customers’ privacy, with protection entrusted to the company’s management, according to a Dec. 5 letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Trillium Asset Management LLC made the proposal last month. They’re urging more openness after reports this year that major Internet companies and U.S. carriers have cooperated with government agencies by sharing some customer data.

“AT&T is trying to prevent the vital issue of customer privacy from coming before its shareholders,” according to a statement from Eric Sumberg, a spokesman for DiNapoli’s office. DiNapoli is the trustee of the $160.7 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund.

“This issue is an important one for customers and shareholders alike and we feel strongly that it should be on AT&T’s ballot this spring,” Sumberg said.

Verizon Communications Inc., the second-largest U.S. telephone company, received a similar shareholder proposal last month from Trillium. Bob Varettoni, a Verizon spokesman, declined to comment.

In June, the Guardian newspaper reported on a secret court order directing New York-based Verizon to collect call data.