Feds Withdraw Amazon Subpoena

Judge bashes request for book-buyers records as 'Orwellian'
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2007 7:39 AM CST
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, at a product launch this month. A judge rejected federal prosecutors' request to subpoena Amazon's records.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Federal prosecutors have withdrawn a subpoena seeking information on thousands of Amazon customers' book-buying habits, MarketWatch reports. The US Attorney's office had sought information on the purchasers of 24,000 used books in connection with a grand-jury probe of a third-party seller on Amazon. But the judge rejected the request, calling it "Orwellian."

If he had approved the subpoena, the judge wrote, "the chilling effect on expressive e-commerce would frost keyboards across America." The judge rejected the request in July and has now unsealed the subpoena request, against prosecutors' wishes. The Amazon third-party seller was nevertheless indicted after police seized one of his computers.