The Walt Disney Company has recently stressed privacy issues regarding the use of data they provided for the Justice Department’s ongoing antitrust case against AT&T, mirroring concerns already voiced by Fox. Disney petitioned the judge hearing the case on Wednesday to strengthen an order in place which would keep the company’s data private if the case goes to trial.
The Justice Department’s lawsuit is meant to block AT&T’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., a deal they believe could increase prices for both rival companies and pay-TV subscribers, and possibly hamper the development of online video. AT&T owns the satellite TV provider DirecTV; Time Warner is one of the largest content creators.
Both Disney and Fox have provided data to the government which is being used to build the case. Fox’s concern, and now Disney’s as well, is that throughout the course of a trial AT&T executives could gain access to sensitive data from its competitors.
The case is being heard at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Judge Richard Leon. Judge Leon has made confidential information accessible “to the court, Justice Department lawyers and staff, service providers and AT&T and Time Warner’s outside counsel.”
Fox has requested that the court grant them permission to withhold information it deems sensitive and irrelevant to the case, knowledge of who accesses their provided data, and that any lawyers privy to the information be barred from working on anything involving Fox for two years without their consent.
Disney is now asking the same. Their request stated,
“The complex and competitive business relationships between Fox and defendants that make Fox wary of disclosing sensitive information in this lawsuit are nearly identical to those between TWDC (the Walt Disney Co) and defendants.”
The case is slated for trial on March 19th, 2018.