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Free Expression

Amazon: N.C. Data Demand is Privacy Violation on ‘Massive Scale’

CDT President Leslie Harris writes in her latest Huffington Post column that is fighting a demand from North Carolina tax collectors that the online retailer turn over the names, addresses and items bought by NC state residents since 2003.  Amazon told the court that if it is forced to comply with the demand it would violate privacy and First Amendment rights "on a massive scale." 

The demand for information is apparently part of a routine audit the NC tax collectors are doing on Amazon's business and the company has already turned over a wealth of information, but NC Department of Revenue wants more.

Harris writes: 

Clearly, disclosure of such information would be a huge violation of North Carolinians' privacy, and it's certainly not a risk that Amazon users willingly took. How many of us would expect our state government to get a full list of what we're reading and watching, and having that list possibly become a public record or otherwise be revealed? It's unclear what the Department of Revenue hopes to gain by forcing Amazon to breach its users' privacy, but North Carolina residents definitely have a lot to lose.