Tuesday, April 09, 2002
Maybe there are reasons not to shop at AmazonThe Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that both the federal and Colorado constitutions limit the powers of law enforcement to obtain bookstore records. The ruling wasn't, as some news outlets erroneously reported, that bookstore records must remain anonymous; the court merely held that law-enforcement must demonstrate a compelling government need for the records, and that the bookstore is entitled to a hearing before turning over the records. It applies only in Colorado, unfortunately.
This ruling provides an interesting contrast to last fall's USA Patriot Act, which (among many other things) explicitly empowers the FBI to obtain records from bookstores and libraries. Is this new ruling a sign that hysteria over the 9/11 tragedy -- the hysteria which led Congress to rush to enact the USA Patriot Act into law with minimal debate -- has evaporated? Let's hope so. I certainly don't want Americans to become complacent about dealing with Islamofascist terrorism, but I do hope it shows that Americans are realizing that restricting our own civil liberties isn't the answer.
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