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Amazon wins identity protection battle


SEATTLE came out ahead in a battle with the FBI over the release of the identities of customers who purchased books from a man under tax fraud investigation.

According to reports, U.S. Magistrate Stephen Crocker said, in a June opinion that was recently unsealed, that the FBI’s push to get to reveal the identities of more than 24,000 customers who bought used books from Robert D’Angelo—who is accused of tax fraud—was a serious First Amendment issue.

In his opinion Crocker, according to reports, wrote that it was “an unsettling and un-American scenario to envision federal agents nosing through the reading lists of law-abiding citizens while hunting for evidence against someone else.

Aside from the First Amendment issue, Amazon, as well as Crocker, was reportedly concerned that customers would stop using its service if they learned their information had been given to the government.

In 2006, Amazon received a subpoena from a grand jury investigating Robert D’Angelo, ordering the company to provide information on individuals who had purchased books from D’Angelo. According to reports, the government was looking to contact these individuals and gather information that could be used as evidence against D’Angelo.

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