Judge: Free Speech Protects Amazon Buyers' Data
An AP newswire article by Emery P. Dalesio, via MSNBC.com, reports that:
Lists that identify the books, music and movies individual customers bought from online retailer Amazon.com are protected from North Carolina tax collectors, a federal judge has ruled.
Amazon said in a lawsuit it filed in April in its hometown of Seattle that disclosing the names, addresses and purchases of its customers as requested by the North Carolina Revenue Department would harm anyone who may have bought controversial books or movies.
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled late Monday that the First Amendment protects a buyer from the government demanding to know the books, music, and audiovisual products they've bought.
Amazon and the American Civil Liberties Union, which later joined the case, "have established that the First Amendment protects the disclosure of individual's reading, listening, and viewing habits," Pechman wrote.
"The ACLU is not taking issue with the department's authority to collect taxes on these purchases, but there is no legitimate reason why government officials need to know which North Carolina residents are reading which books or purchasing which specific brands of products," said Katy Parker, legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation.