Federal Court Says State Can't Demand Customer Data From Amazon

The case that pitted two unlikely partners: the American Civil Liberties Union and Amazon.com, against the North Carolina Department of Revenue is over. A federal judge today ruled that the state doesn't have the right to request purchasing details--like who their customers are and what they like to buy--from the online store.

The fight started when North Carolina, being ass broke just like Washington, demanded that Amazon turn over customer details to the state so they could presumably market the crap out of them. Since Amazon has made a quiet nest inside the loophole that allows them to avoid paying most sales taxes, North Carolina wanted to recoup.

Amazon cried foul, citing privacy concerns. And later, after the ACLU apparently got over Amazon's spotty record on privacy (the site used to secretly hoard data like what customers "highlighted" on their Kindles), it threw its weight behind the company.

That effort seems to have paid off.

"This ruling is a victory for privacy and free speech on the Internet. The court has emphasized what other courts have found before - that government officials cannot watch over our shoulders to see what we are buying and reading," Sarah Dunne, Legal Director for the ACLU of Washington, said in a statement.

While the ruling makes definite precedent involving disclosing customer data, it leaves North Carolina free to keep trying to recover sales tax revenue from Amazon--a task the state seems to have no inclination of giving up.

Here's the complete ruling.

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