Don’t want anyone to know you read “Goodnight Moon” before bedtime? Don’t

Don’t want anyone to know you read “Goodnight Moon” before bedtime? Don’t buy this.In the fight for online privacy, the American Civil Liberties Union has chosen what might be an unlikely ally: Amazon. To recap: Amazon has for years skirted around charging state sales tax. And North Carolina, like Washington, is broke. So, to recoup some of that lost revenue, the state demanded info on Amazon’s local customers, including their names and details of what they bought. Amazon declined to provide, and in April filed a lawsuit against the state, citing the need to protect their customer’s First Amendment rights. The ACLU announced today that if North Carolina doesn’t back off, it will join the lawsuit. Only you would have thought that they’d check on Amazon’s record of protecting customer privacy before jumping on the bandwagon.Earlier this month, Amazon stirred debate among privacy advocates after Kindle users discovered that the e-reader’s operating software was keeping track of the passages its users “highlighted.” The info was compiled for a feature called “popular highlights.” Users’ names weren’t displayed, but that didn’t stop some critics from saying that Amazon had “stepped over the line.” MSNBC’s Bob Mason reports that Amazon stores and retains info on user reading habits. A court order is all one would need to determine the authors of the notes or the users who highlighted a passage, he writes. The same goes for Google’s e-reader project. Last year, the ACLU of Northern California sent the company a letter predicting that without instituting tighter privacy safeguards, Google Books would become a “one-stop shop for government and civil litigant fishing expeditions into the private lives of Americans.”According to Mason, some users say that the info-sharing enhances the e-reading experience. Even if that’s true, the more information Amazon hoards, the more attractive a target it becomes to anyone who wants to know the particulars of another person’s reading habits.