Newly unsealed court records have revealed that the U.S. government issued a subpoena to Amazon.com seeking to obtain the identities of customers purchasing books through the Amazon marketplace. The snooping attempt was blocked by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker who wrote in a recently-unsealed ruling, "Well-founded or not, rumors of an Orwellian federal criminal investigation into the reading habits of Amazon's customers could frighten countless potential customers into canceling planned online book purchases."
Is the U.S. government trying to profile the psychology of its citizens by secretly data mining their book purchasing habits? Since 9/11 and the passage of the ill-designed Patriot Act (which, if anything, is traitorous, not patriotic), it seems that the U.S. government is aggressively expanding its powers to search records, tap phones and surveil electronic messages, all in an effort to conduct Gestapo-like profiling operations on its own citizens. It is now a well-known fact, for example, that domestic phone calls and e-mails are now tracked and recorded by the U.S. government, then mined for "dangerous" words which are linked back to those callers.
"The subpoena is troubling because it permits the government to peek into the reading habits of specific individuals without their knowledge or permission," Judge Crocker wrote in his ruling. "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."