Disclosure of Amazon.com Customer Names Protected by Free Speech

In a decision last week, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that internet retail giant Amazon.com was protected from disclosing its customer names and certain other information to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. The Court ruled that the First Amendment protected the “disclosure of an individual’s reading, listening and viewing habits.” However, it appears that a state taxing authority could obtain individual customer information if it makes a more narrowly tailored request to only include general product descriptions, not specific titles of books, videos, etc. purchased by customers.  Expect more developments on this topic as states aggressively pursue obtaining information pertaining to in-state sales where no sales tax is collected.

Click here to read the opinion.