Well, surely it would only be illegal if they were
1.) breaching the Chinese wall (SOX)
2.) sharing price/info sensitive information
So, yes,special treatments to the in-crowd or special relationship club is quite normal, esp. big business.
The reverse is also true where if the information is readily available, the spread/competitive advantage just get 'normalised'.
Question is if this is sustainable in the medium to long term when critical information become commoditised and with potentially news/market changing events are 'consumers' or 'customers' driven.
For example, if/when social media becomes pervasive enough where collective of opinions affects dramatically the business world, and hence becomes the money sensitive triggers.. (Reverse signalling?)
I can foresee more new names to be devised when that happens, and perfect for business book writers..