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Reader privacy is the right of individuals to read publications without the government having access to a list of those publications.
The First Amendment required the government to "demonstrate a compelling interest in the information sought . . . [and] a sufficient connection between the information sought and the grand jury investigation . . . ." As noted in In re Grand Jury Subpoena to Amazon.com:
- [I]t is an unsettling and un-American scenario to envision federal agents nosing through the reading lists of law-abiding citizens. . . . [I]f word were to spread over the Net — and it would — that the FBI and the IRS had demanded and received Amazon's list of customers and their personal purchases, the chilling effect on expressive e-commerce would frost keyboards across America . . . 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, now and perhaps forever.