by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
data, north carolina, privacy, sales tax


Court Lets Amazon Protect Customer Purchase Info In North Carolina

from the phew dept

While Amazon was receiving a giant bill from Texas for not collecting sales tax, it had a good day concerning a similar issue in North Carolina. As you may recall, the state of North Carolina was demanding that Amazon tell it about every purchase made by a North Carolina resident, so that it could go after each of them for sales tax. Amazon already provided a ton of info to the state, including the date and price of each transaction, along with the city, county and zip code to which the order was shipped, along with the product codes identifying the products ordered. Basically, Amazon is already handing over the details of everything you purchase -- except your name and address. Except North Carolina wanted that too, which seemed like an even bigger privacy violation.

Thankfully, a district court judge has ruled against the state, noting that it has "no legitimate need" for the info -- though, did leave open the possibility that a "narrower" request for info could be legal. Of course, to some of us, it seems like Amazon is already turning over way too much info. What people buy in a state is not the state government's business.

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  • icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), 26 Oct 2010 @ 5:35am

    Hoarders without boarders?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    A Dan (profile), 26 Oct 2010 @ 8:32am

    Sales tax and state lines

    They can't know how much these people owe in taxes unless Amazon either collects the tax or tells them exactly what the people bought, neither of which the state can force them to do.

    Maybe we'll start to see more states move toward the New Hampshire model?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ben, 26 Oct 2010 @ 7:06pm

    Colorado's law will be next?

    Colorado recently passed a law that requires (and other >$100K in CO online retailers) to supply them with a report with on every name/address/total purchased at the end of each year.

    Imagine if every state passed a law like that - but all of them slightly different. You'd need a team of lawyers to figure it all out and keep current on the latest bullshit. Coincidentally, the founders seem to have thought of this and gave only the federal government jurisdiction over insterstate commerce.

    But honestly, most of us just don't want to pay sales tax.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2010 @ 8:37am

    What is not mentioned in this article is that the court in Washington state based its decision in major part upon the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sprearson81 (profile), 10 Jun 2012 @ 8:34am

    Thank Lord for the First Amendment then . . .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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