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Feds Back Off Amazon Request

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A subpoena for information regarding Amazon.com customers and used book purchases as part of a criminal investigation into Robert D’Angelo has been withdrawn after withering criticism from the presiding judge.

Federal Judge Stephen Crocker in western Wisconsin rebuked US Attorneys for seeking records from Amazon in connection with D’Angelo’s tax evasion and mail fraud case. News of his stance against the grab for personal information emerged after D’Angelo’s indictment, and the subsequent unsealing of court records.

Amazon.comMarketWatch cited Crocker’s comments, where he likened the request to "an Orwellian federal criminal investigation into the reading habits of Amazon’s customers." D’Angelo reportedly sold 24,000 used books through Amazon over a four year period.

Crocker perceived news of such a request would have a chilling effect on e-commerce. He considered the impact of such news becoming public knowledge online, and the resulting debate:

"One might ask whether this court should concern itself with blogger outrage disproportionate to the government’s actual demand of Amazon. The logical answer is yes, it should."

The Bush Administration’s Justice Department endured a similar setback when former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and DoJ attorneys tried to subpoena Google for hundreds of thousands of search records. The two sides finally settled on a much more scaled-back amount of search data being disclosed to the Justice Department.

An AP report noted federal prosecutors did not want these court records unsealed.

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Feds Back Off Amazon Request
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  • Michael Nietzsche

    Maybe Bushit would like me to keep records of my bowel movements….. O.K. I’ll agree to do it…. but then I expect George to go on TV and eat my shit! Preferable while it’s still warm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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