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Amazon Attempts To Block Data Request

April 20, 2010

Amazon.com has filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina state government, citing the state is unlawfully requiring the online retailer to disclose all transaction details, names and addresses of customers living in that state.

In the complaint, Amazon stated that North Carolina’s Department of Revenue is demanding the retailer to turn over all purchase activity — including items purchased and prices paid — and customer information of NC citizens from Amazon since 2003.

Amazon said customer privacy is being invaded if they disclose that information, according to a Reuters report.

The lawsuit is seen as a way for states to find ways to increase revenues during the struggling economy, and debating on the option of taxing out-of-state retailers.

New York state passed such legislation in 2008.

North Carolina’s Depart of Revenue is auditing Amazon’s compliance with state laws on sales and taxes. Amazon stated in the court filing that it is cooperating with the audit. They said they have already provided a large amount of information to the DOR without violating customer privacy.

“But the DOR has no business seeking to uncover the identity of Amazon’s customers who purchased expressive content, which makes up the majority of the nearly 50 million products sold to North Carolina residents during the audit period,” Amazon said in the court filing.

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