Wednesday, November 28, 2007 Protecting the First Amendment

According to an AP story, phone companies and other entities--balked when zealous law enforcement demanded a list of people who'd bought certain books online.

Wow--imagine standing by principles in today's scary world. Even more astounding--this is a business standing up for our rights! We can't even find Congressional representatives willing to do that!

This all came about because federal prosecutors are going after an official who sold used books online--from his official office. He didn't report the profits. Bad, bad man.

The feds figured his book customers would make good witnesses. They wanted Amazon to turn over records of who purchased books from this guy, so they could contact those purchasers. Honest, that's it.

"We didn't care about the content of what anybody read. We just wanted to know what these business transactions were," the prosecutor said.

But Judge Stephen Crocker said "No."

More specifically, he said: "It is an unsettling and un-American scenario to envision federal agents nosing through the reading lists of law-abiding citizens while hunting for evidence against somebody else."

Yay, Judge Crocker! Yay, Amazon!

Could this be a trend? Will we actually start demanding the protections developed under 200 years of Constitutional rule?

Gee. . . what a great country could spring from that!

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