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Bookseller Purges Records to Avoid PATRIOT Act

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the not-the-records-you're-looking-for dept.

Privacy 560

Skyshadow writes "Vermont Bookseller Bear Pond Books has announced that they will purge their sales records at the request of customers . This would effectively sidestep typically insideous a provision of the PATRIOT Act which allows government agencies to secretly seize sales records. The store's co-owner, Michael Katzenberg, put it this way: 'When the CIA comes and asks what you've read because they're suspicious of you, we can't tell them because we don't have it... That's just a basic right, to be able to read what you want without fear that somebody is looking over your shoulder to see what you're reading.' Now if only certain other booksellers would show that same conscience, we might have something here."

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In Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349349)

Book records purge YOU!
i bet you totaly saw that one coming

Re:In Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349364)

If that were "In America, book records purge YOU!", you wouldn't be far off from the (approaching) truth. Scary, and with folks like Ashcroft around it will become a reality.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349576)

maybe it should be

"In America, book records *perjure* YOU!"

FP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349351)

?? Help me!!!

good bye barnes and noble, hello bear pond! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349352)

That's right, bear pond leads, the rest will be big brother's but plug!

Law Enforcement (5, Insightful)

jlrowe (69115) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349357)

Why don't we just enforce the law in the USA. And the premier first set is the US Consitution and the amendments.

Vote some decent congressmen in and maybe we can win the country back!

Re:Law Enforcement (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349373)

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A friend of mine who was a science and health researcher at the University of Chicago, just died this past year of colon cancer at 42. In the midst of the prime of his life, he said goodbye, and left his wife and child behind, wondering what just hit them.

Why do you brush your teeth? Are your teeth falling out right now? For most of us, we do it so we won't need false teeth and Fixodent down the road...right? We want to be able to eat apples. Hey, I agree with that. Natural teeth are great.

But have you ever seen someone who was forced to endure a colonectomy? Someone who now will be spending the rest of their life carrying a bag around?

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What??? (-1, Offtopic)

thoolie (442789) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349414)

What the does that have to do with anything? What the hell are you talking about?

I'm so confused.........I think i'll go take a crap.........

Re:Law Enforcement (3, Interesting)

DarwinDan (596565) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349401)

I'm with ya! How about first getting people to actually VOTE in our elections, huh? Then we can focus on getting the decent politicians back where they belong -- in power.

Re:Law Enforcement (4, Informative)

elmegil (12001) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349476)

The problem is most of us have given up on finding any decent politicians. Quite honestly I can't think of any where I'm from.

Re:Law Enforcement (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349598)

We don't need more voters, we need voters who actually understand the freaking issues. Increasing the number of uninformed fuckwits involved in politics won't get us anywhere.

That would be nice but... (5, Insightful)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349531)

I think the problem is finding decent congressman. Remember, these people come from the population. The politicians don't suck, the population sucks if this is the best we have to offer. An ignorant population is easy to control. I bet the people who ran out and bought duct tape and plastic think the PATRIOT act is a great idea. Considering what it is the name, "PATRIOT act", makes me want to vomit.

I have com to the the conclusion that in general us Americans give up lots of our rights (think freedom) without a fight for the illusion of protection. We are no better protected than we were before this abomination to our freedom, American politics at its finest.

Think about that while you eat your red, white, and blue cake.

Re:Law Enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349570)

Decent congressmen..

Wait..I know this one. Or at least wait long enough for me to get Ask Jeeves to load.

Amazon (5, Interesting)

Queer Boy (451309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349359)

I like that Amazon keeps records of what people are buying. I just think they should do it in an anonymous basis. I like being able to see what people are buying in addition to a certain DVD. On a sidenote I like that they have a spot to add your opinions about what to watch in addition to a movie and what to watch instead of a particular movie.

Re:Amazon (2, Insightful)

EugeneK (50783) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349406)

That WOULD be great if you had some assurance of privacy.


This is a brilliant move by this small bookstore. People talk about Amazon driving small stores out of business. Amazon can't compete with this though.

Re:Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349468)

You mean you actually pay money to watch movies????

Just do what I do and pirate the movies from winmx and imesh...... It might not help the movie studios, but it helps the broadband companies and it helps the P2P companies such as the companies behind imesh, kazaa, etc.

Who do you want... rich actors and over paid hollywood guys, or normal day job workers working at a telecom along with programmers programming P2P programs.

Re:Amazon (1)

Tuxinatorium (463682) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349538)

" It might not help the movie studios, but it helps the broadband companies"

Wrong. P2P junkies who use 5GB of bandwidth per day are driving expenses through the roof for broadband companies. Bandwidth costs ~$0.50 per GB for them, and a P2P junkie who uses 100GB per month (mostly uploading) is costing the company way more than he is paying for the service. The service is sold with the expectation that you won't CONSTANLY USE PEAK BANDWIDTH because if you do, they lose a lot more money than you paid.

Re:Amazon (1)

packeteer (566398) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349605)

Get Speakeasy [speakeasy.net] . They are admittedly a bit more pricey and a bit slower but they really dont care if you use peak bandwidth 24/7. In fact they encourage running servers from home and even give tech support to setting up their service on home linux machines.

Text of Article (-1, Troll)

privacyt (632473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349360)

Vt. bookseller purges files to avoid potential `Patriot Act' searches

DAVID GRAM, Associated Press Writer Thursday, February 20, 2003

(02-20) 11:53 PST MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) --

Some booksellers are troubled by a post-Sept. 11 federal law that gives the government broad powers to seize the records of bookstores and libraries to find out what people have been reading.

Bear Pond Books in Montpelier will purge purchase records for customers if they ask, and it has already dumped the names of books bought by its readers' club.

"When the CIA comes and asks what you've read because they're suspicious of you, we can't tell them because we don't have it," store co-owner Michael Katzenberg said. "That's just a basic right, to be able to read what you want without fear that somebody is looking over your shoulder to see what you're reading."

The Patriot Act approved after the 2001 terrorist attacks allows government agents to seek court orders to seize records "for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."

Such court orders cannot be challenged like a traditional subpoena. In fact, bookstores and libraries are barred from telling anyone if they get one.

U.S. Attorney Peter Hall played down concern that government agents might soon be darkening the door at Vermont bookstores and libraries.

"Only in very rare and limited and supervised circumstances would anyone be seeking that sort of business information from a bookseller, a library or a business of any sort," Hall said.

He also said businesses can do whatever they want with purchase records as long as the material isn't being sought under a court order.

Such record requests from bookstores were becoming more frequent even before the attacks.

Kramer's Books in Washington won a court order blocking independent counsel Kenneth Starr from getting records of purchases by Monica Lewinsky during his investigation of the sex scandal involving President Clinton. And the Colorado Supreme Court ruled last year for a Denver book store in its fight against a subpoena of purchase records by a defendant in a drug case.

The court found that "compelled disclosure of book-buying records threatens to destroy the anonymity upon which many customers depend."

Chris Finan, president of the American Booksellers' Foundation for Freedom of Expression, said booksellers until now have frequently kept lists of books their customers read as a matter of marketing. Some offer discounts to frequent customers or send a notice when a favorite author has a new release.

Finan said he wasn't aware of any widespread move by booksellers to purge such lists.

Peggy Bresee was in Bear Pond Books recently to buy "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" and "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" as birthday gifts for a son who lives in Utah. She had the store purge the purchase records.

"It really does make me feel so much better," she said. "They're protecting those of us who are readers. It matters."

Purging records? (5, Funny)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349362)

Someone should show them how to slag their hard drives, quick!

Re:Purging records? (1)

nottestuser (166818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349526)

They're down the street from me. I'll give them a copy of Eraser tomorrow.

Some of those transactions are mine!

The real question is... (4, Funny)

thoolie (442789) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349366)

The real question is, did the bookseller binge beforehand? If so, this could be a very serious condition.......

NO, this isn't funny. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349470)

"The real question is, did the bookseller purge their 8-tracks and tapes too? If so, this could be a very serious condition...."

HAR HAR HAR...

Hey! (2, Interesting)

jackjumper (307961) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349369)

That's right up the road from me! I'll have to pop in and thank them...

Re:Hey! (1)

tiwason (187819) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349440)

No shit... another Vermonter on /. ? What are the odds....

Re:Hey! (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349456)

Pretty good actually, although at the moment I'm in purgatory about 50 miles into NYS.

KFG

Re:Hey! (1)

sremick (91371) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349545)

Vermonter and long-time Slashdot reader here. I'm about an hour from Montpeculiar (said with the utmost affection) but I wander up there from time to time and have shopped at Bear Pond. This is rather cool news.

Re:Hey! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349586)

I've heard people from Vermont are very keen on using maple syrup and ben & jerry's ice cream as 'personal lubricants' when they're riding the hershey highway.

Is this true?

If so, would you care to comment on the effectiveness of these products?

Obstruction of justice (5, Interesting)

MrLint (519792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349376)

This poses an instresting question, if destruction of records is not a normal business practice (to my knowledge its not), then i have to wonder if some creatative sort in the DoJ is going to try to attack them for obstuction of justice for destorying potential "evidence"

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Informative)

Sunlighter (177996) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349392)

Not unless they destroy it after it has actually been subpoenaed or otherwise requested.

If they or you destroy data that no one wants, then, hey... that's life.

Re:Obstruction of justice (2, Insightful)

MrLint (519792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349403)

Well these days you aren't 'good' unless you are into creatitve law enforcement. I recall reading of a DA taht tried to prosecute someone for assault with a deadly weapon. What was the weapon you ask? A spitball.

Re:Obstruction of justice (1)

ryants (310088) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349397)

I thought the same... then I thought "why keep records at all?"

Records to tie purchases to people, anyways. Sure, you can keep track that you've sold 230 copies of "The Road Ahead", and that customer Bob has used his Visa to purchase $400 worth of stuff, but just don't tie names to books.

Not keeping the records at all, I think, would be a safer defense from obstruction charges.

Re:Obstruction of justice (3, Interesting)

deadsaijinx* (637410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349556)

And what about when customer Bob wants to return his copy of "Road Ahead" ? It's already hard enuf returning things online as it is, imagine hearing this ... "I'm sorry, we dont have any records of you purchasing this, so you can't return it." Or how bout the fact that they had to charge his Visa, they need proof of what he purchased, not just, "Yes, he did purchase $400 in books, no we can't tell you what he purchased, only that he did spend the money so go ahead and charge his account" I worry that the system would be a little to easily abused, and non-functional.
I could go on ad nausem about the other pitfalls of your "not keeping records at all" idea, but hopefully you can already tell it holds no water.

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Informative)

Queer Boy (451309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349412)

if destruction of records is not a normal business practice (to my knowledge its not), then i have to wonder if some creatative sort in the DoJ is going to try to attack them for obstuction

From what I gathered, they are informing their customers of a new customer service policy. They only keep records from customers that agree to it and they are giving everyone equal footing by purging existing records by request.

It's also an "all or nothing". They are not purging individual items from their database.

This is typical retail practise. Customer wants their information purged from the company's system, fine. Bear Pond is just making it sound like they're the only one doing it.

Re:Obstruction of justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349460)

Dude, are you drunk? Because every other word is misspelled.

Something to be admired (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349378)


I recently purged a load of nut nectar into Cmdr Taco's mouth. The I let him put his pee sprout in my poop chute.

big ones (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349379)

Woohoo! First fucking post! Post number seventeen baby! Eat it ya dumb shits! Woooooooooohooooooooo!
Fuck fuck mother mother fuck!

Didn't even beat first NINNLE post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349478)

FUCK, you're lame!

Policies at my campus (5, Insightful)

sludg-o (120354) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349384)

I purge email logs over a week old

I don't keep squid (http cache) logs logs at all

In my humble opinion, Your admin shoud do the same

Re:Policies at my campus (1)

ralphus (577885) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349496)

I purge all but 30 days and manage Internet services for a mid-size company. 30 is the lowest I could get senior management to buy off on as they like to be able to see a report that's a bit more than a week's history on someone's web browsing if they want.

I would love to keep less logs, and I HATE having to play network gestapo. I always make sure I explain to who I give a report to, exactly what it means though, so they can make fair judgements about the reportee.

Problem Solved (3, Interesting)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349386)

Buy in "meatspace", pay in cash. Or Ebay.

Re:Problem Solved (1, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349487)

AHA! Gottcha.

Only drug dealers use cash and drug dealers fund terrorists, therefore, you sir, are a terrorist.

Ipso Facto.

Ok, a bit of a stretch. Well, unless you buy something for more than $10,000. Then you have to actually *prove* you're not a drug dealer.

All they have to do now is gradually lower the bar.

KFG

Re:Problem Solved (2, Informative)

Thu Anon Coward (162544) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349542)

uhhhh...eBay DOES track you and will hand over the info without a subpoena. furthermore, if they think you ARE acting suspicious they will turn you over to law enforcement and suggest they check you out

Farenheit 451 anyone? (5, Insightful)

DarwinDan (596565) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349389)

Does this remind anyone of Farenheit 451? You know, where they burn the books so people won't revolt against the government? This is a similar restriction [ala.org] placed upon our libraries and bookstores that silences any mention of a subpoena for a list of books a certain individual has purchased or borrowed.

I still don't understand how Mr. Ashcroft and his DoJ thugs [usdoj.gov] got PATRIOT through Congress. Oh wait, I forgot! Our US Congress was so freaked out by September 11 and thought that somehow if they took away Americans' right to privacy and freedom from harassment that this world would somehow be a better place!

Re:Farenheit 451 anyone? (1)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349463)

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it's pretty stupid to check out "How to make a bomb in your basement" from the library or to order it online with your credit card? Isn't that the first think you learn in Anarchy 101, to read or photocopy the books at the library, or buy such books with cash at the local army suplus store?

Oh, and it's USA PATRIOT Act, USA PATRIOT being an acronym...

Re:Farenheit 451 anyone? (1)

Mark (ph'x) (619499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349534)

Im Australian... its not my problem when the US takes away your basic rights under the guise of 'protecting freedom'

HOWEVER.. it is my problem when your arrogant government and big business industries (read RIAA/MPAA) try to force your legislation on my country. if the US wants to try and get its copyright and DMCA law mirrored over here in aus, then at least let me vote in your elections ffs!

Im sick of 'America - Land of the Free'... its a misnomer... its BS. I turned down a well paid job in the US a month back... because as an IT admin, it would be frankly dangerous to work over there.

Im sure the US will try to stop dealing with countries without a DMCA equivalent. Eventually the US will be economically affected by these restrictions, and its citizens will start to ask questions. Unfortunately... as of course 'American Values' are good enough for all... we are likely to see 'peaceful non-agression military' solution to their problems.

Re:Farenheit 451 anyone? (2, Insightful)

Thu Anon Coward (162544) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349559)

please don't equate American government with American people. remember, Gore got the popular vote, not Bush. most of us think Bush is a fucking moron. every time I go thru airport security I give them hell. last time I said they were profiling me and being discriminatory, they said "no way", I said "so how did you pick me out?", "oh based on your attitude", "Ah-Hah! so you are profiling based on attitude!" .... that shut them up

Right to privacy (1)

aliens (90441) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349602)

Actually, as far as I know, you have no right to privacy. It's just something we've come to think we deserve.

Could someone fill me in on the laws that have been passed that give us these rights? I'm not trolling I would really like to know.

This deserves more than a comment (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349391)


Where's a HERO tag when you need one?

Re:This deserves more than a comment (5, Funny)

bdesham (533897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349433)

Where's a HERO tag when you need one?
Why, that's a farking good idea!

Re:This deserves more than a comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349504)

I hate to say it, but fark [fark.com] has had them for a while...

Re:This deserves more than a comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349505)

Hero tag? This is Slashdot for cripes sake. You're thinking of that other site fark.com that still has somewhat interesting message boards and lets you post kickass photoshopped images. Slashdot is the site where everyone bitches about how the government is taking away all their rights because they can't copy DVDs for free and how Microsoft is evil. Also, the last time images were allowed inline on Slashdot the pages were filled with a big huge asshole of the Goatse.cx guy.

Godd for them... (1)

Goronmon (652094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349405)

Really, what does the government gain by knowing what books each person has recently bought? I mean, if someone has purchased dozens of books about terrorism and bomb-making, I'm sure there would be more obvious and meaningful evidence of wat they plan to do than just what books they have.

I mean, some college kid does a paper on terrorism and in the process buys a few books on the subject, then all of a sudden this kid is getting a call about those books. I don't want to feel as though I might "get in trouble" if I buy or borrow a book on a questionable subject.

Are you surprised by this? (2, Insightful)

Black Rabbit (236299) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349407)

Aren't you Americans glad you live in such a free country? Aren't you glad your beloved constitution actually MEANS something?

Welcome to the NEW New World Order. ...and don't worry...OUR fun loving Canadian government will follow right along in due course.

Re:Are you surprised by this? (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349603)

If religion can be defined as "the believe that at least one diety exists", and as http://www.m-w.com tells me, atheism is "the disbelief that a diety exists", which can be stated as "the belief that no diety exists" then atheism is a religion.

Unless, of course you are telling me that the "belief" part has no bearing on the definition. ;) You have to believe something, one way or the other, and to most folks, religion is the "belief" part of that.

Good way to go. (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349408)

The Patriot Act is a violation of what my father fought for in Korea and Vietnam, and what I stood for while in the military.

I am upset that people are associating the Patriot Act with conservatism. Violation of my rights isn't conservative, its facism. Fellow conservatives need to speak up. We DO need some stronger laws and enforcement tools, and I do believe this is a passing problem, but only if we speak up.

Some may compare our current situation to that during the Civil War (oxymoron if there ever was one) when Lincoln suspended Habius Corpus, but I don't feel the two events can be compared in this way. The threat is real, more real than that era, but not as localized.

Until then, destroying sales records is a legal way to not comply with this over reaching Act. Hopefully, others will follow their lead.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349475)

Your father wasn't fighting for anything worthwhile. He was "just obeying orders."

Re:Good way to go. (1)

jenns (571323) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349489)

I was under the impression that on the left-to-right scale we went from communism to liberalism to centrism to conservatism to fascism. Was I taught incorrectly? If that scale is the case, then fascism is very radical conservatism, yes?

But I do agree wholeheartedly that destroying sales records to protect my privacy is the way to go.

Re:Good way to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349608)

No. Fascism has nothing to do with right or left. Stalin was a communist fascist. Pinochet was a conservative fascist. Hitler was more or less a centralist fascist.

Re:Good way to go. (1, Interesting)

elmegil (12001) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349500)

I am upset that people are associating the Patriot Act with conservatism.

I would recommend that you inform those who you politically support that conservatives don't support this any more than liberals. And quite honestly, watching congress go like a bunch of sheep to pass this atrocity, it's clear that it's not just a left/right issue. Nonetheless, the self-proclaimed conservatives have draped themselves in the flag and put this abomination forth to begin with (let's hear it for Johnny Ashcroft, who is getting his revenge for being beaten out of his senate seat by a dead man).

Not conservative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349590)

Conservative is a general term and doesn't really mean anything. It is better to be more specific.

Neo-conservatives are for this.
Paleo-conservatives are against this.
Libertarians are against this.

You can find the differences by doing a web search.

Re:Good way to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349594)

Conservatives, fascists, Liberals, even Libertarians - you all suck, the lot of you. FUCK OFF. You all wield your own type of tyranny.

Re:Good way to go. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349616)

I am upset that people are associating the Patriot Act with conservatism. Violation of my rights isn't conservative, its facism.

Well, all you frigging conservatives got exactly what you voted for.

George aWol Bu$h:
- never served a day in the military
- daddy pulled strings to put him in the national guard so he could stay here and drink, do drugs, and party
- is protecting the likes of Ken Lay after he ripped off thousands of people of millions of dollars
- lied his ass off about "compassionate conservatism." I have yet to see any real compassion come out of the man.

You got precisely what you voted for, and you're outnumbered. The election was rigged, though, so no worries. You voted for him, so quit your damn bitching.

The funny thing is all the republicans fell for it, hook, line, and sinker!! They were all too busy worrying about "character" from the Bill Clinton scandal. GWB has MUCH LESS character. At least Bill -SOMETIMES- told the truth! GWB lies every time he opens his mouth!

So, now we have a president, who hasn't served in the military, with all his oil cronies, Dick and Condo-Leezuh, and that ilk, getting ready to start WWIII just so they can protect Chevron's profits.

It's sick, I tell you.

Books cause Dangerous Thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349410)

Give them to your your local fireman or police officer for safe disposal.

- Ministry of Homeland Security

http://homepage.mac.com/leperous/PhotoAlbum1.htm l

How about this? (3, Interesting)

antiprime (121253) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349416)

They shouldn't be keeping records about who buys what books in the first place. I know what I buy, and I have the ability to look for new reading material in catalogs, libraries or via social contacts. Why is a bookseller keeping track of my book purchases any better than a government keeping track?

Re:How about this? (1)

AdamTheBastard (532937) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349555)

Purhaps they are keeping a record becuase it helps them with their receipts, stock take and what not. It also helps them know what kind of books ppl might be interested giving them a better idea of what books they should order from publishers.

If I were buying enough books from my local book store and they were able to tell me about new books they have or are getting that I might be interested in then I think that would be very benificial.

It's of little comfort (2, Interesting)

standards (461431) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349418)

But still, why should I trust this bookseller? Sure, they claim that they won't manage any lists of customer purchases... but how do I, as a customer, know that they don't have some lists somewhere?

And even if they don't have lists, they might have knowledge in their heads or on scraps of paper or whatever. All this is fair game when it comes to the law... perhaps just not as accessible as an explicit list.

I remember when my sister was asked about her former (fired) boss by her new boss. "Don't worry", he said, "we'll seal all this so that you can talk freely".

Nothing was written down. But when the new boss took the stand, he discussed the details of what my sister had said.

So much for records; so much for corporate promises.

Re:It's of little comfort (1)

privacyt (632473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349552)

Bear Pond Books is a small bookseller in Vermont. They don't even have a toll-free number, for pete's sake. They're hardly a big corporation as you imply. I certainly trust Bear Pond Books a lot more than the John Ashcroft's Justice Department.

Re:It's of little comfort (1)

scrod (136965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349595)

But still, why should I trust this bookseller? Sure, they claim that they won't manage any lists of customer purchases... but how do I, as a customer, know that they don't have some lists somewhere?


It's certainly preferable to purchasing books from a company that makes no claims whatsoever about the records they keep, don't you think?

Except for one minor problem... (4, Interesting)

benevold (589793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349421)

The CIA does not, and is not allowed, to opperate within the borders of the united states. It may be the FBI or NSA that comes looking but CIA is strictly for international matters.

And I highly doubt they would be interested in what books a person reads, but that's just me.

Re:Except for one minor problem... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349484)

Sir, please do not let facts get in the way of good, old-fashioned scare-mongering.

Re:Except for one minor problem... (5, Insightful)

Wingnut64 (446382) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349524)

That was 'fixed' by the USPA. [ratical.org] . Key quote:
"Section 901 of the USA PATRIOT Act would empower the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency ("DCI"), to establish the priorities for the collection and dissemination of intelligence information gathered in the U.S."

And I highly doubt they would be interested in what books a person reads, but that's just me.
Uh, they want to know if people entering the US asked for meals without pork [slashdot.org] ...

This could be a subtle atempt to outlaw certain books. People would be scared away from 'subversive' material if they knew that the Gov't was watching their every move.

Re:Except for one minor problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349613)

The NSA is under the same rules/policies/laws/etc for domestic operations as the CIA is, as are other Defense Dept IC agencies. FBI is an IC agency, but they're Justice Dept, hence subject to different policy.

Could the feds (2, Interesting)

Gyan (6853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349424)

charge the bookstore for subverting a law ?

I mean, they're out in the public saying they're knowingly taking steps to hinder a possible request from the Feds for information.

This could be stupid... (2, Insightful)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349426)

Purging sales records is one way to get a government agency off your back. Unless it's the IRS.

I wonder if the management has thought through all the implications of their new policy.

an added clause here, a lost right, there (4, Insightful)

dandelion_wine (625330) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349427)

It wouldn't take much to add a provision (were it passed) to make retention of such records mandatory. Rather like walking in to see a psychologist here (Canada) and asking him/her not to keep records, knowing that they could be subject to subpoena -- they'll tell you they must by law keep records, with certain minimum information.

On another sobering note, in 1983 the Supreme Court of Canada allowed evidence of a newspaper clipping found in an accused's home as sufficiently probative to admit, despite the potential prejudice of propensity evidence -- aka: "See? He's the kind of person who would do this." He had been charged with heroin smuggling from Hong Kong. The article was titled: "The heroin trade moves to Pakistan." This flew in the face of all caselaw on that point, but has been followed since. The lesson being: what you read can be held against you! The case is R. v. Morris [1983] 2 S.C.R. 190, if anyone is interested.

Publicity Stunt (2, Insightful)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349432)

Bear Pond Books in Montpelier will purge purchase records for customers if they ask, and it has already dumped the names of books bought by its readers' club.

This is overall a great thing, but still an elaborate publicity stunt ;-). I'm pretty surprised that this made /. news, but then again.

--sex [slashdot.org]

Ask yourselves (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349469)

This is overall a great thing, but still an elaborate publicity stunt ;-).

Well, ask yourselves why the "stunt" seems to work. It must have hit a nerve somehow.

Now if only the local watering hole would take a hint.

Re:Publicity Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349473)

$$$$$exyGal talking about publicity stunts, huh? Pot, this is kettle, kettle, this is pot...

Amazon Lists (5, Interesting)

n0tqu1tesane (540679) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349448)

I was, as a result of this post, going to create a list on Amazon cataloging a number of books that might make the government look at me a little closer. Little did I know, someone had already done just that :\ Here. [amazon.com] [amazon.com]

Re:Amazon Lists (1)

Wee (17189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349568)

That Amazon list was one of the funniest things I've read in a long time. Thanks for the link...

-B

Interesting (1)

gmajor (514414) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349451)

Interesting, but I would like to go there dressed up as a Yasser Arafat look alike and ask for books about "Jihad", the World Trade Center, and the Okhlahoma City bombings. Then I'd like to see if they really would not cooperate with the CIA.

Also, wouldn't a bookworm terrorist just purchase books in cash and give a false name and zip code? Kind of defeats the whole tracking thing.

Re:Interesting (1)

mwillems (266506) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349509)

Er, Yasser Arafat is not into Jihad, he is into Intifada. Nor is he into WTC bombings, that would be Bin Laden, and he sure did not blow up Oklahoma City. If the CIA came asking about this, I'd ask them what they had been smoking.

Re:Interesting (1)

gmajor (514414) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349546)

I used Yasser Arafat as an example because I thought his attire, combined with the above actions, would be one that would influence the average person's thoughts about one being a "terrorist".

Perhaps using "Osama Bin laden look alike" would have been more apt.

Re:Interesting (1)

cranos (592602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349610)

Or possibly white american male aged 25-45? racial profiling when it comes to these things is bullshit.

The funny thing about terrorists is that they don't walk around with a sign over their heads saying "I am a terrorist" instead they blend into society, not drawing any attention to themselves until they actually act.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349554)

The real question is:

Why do they need your name and zip code for buying ANYTHING let alone a book.

Honestly, I don't think it's anyones business, and when asked for these items I politely refuse to give them.

In the case of RadioShat, and other stores that claim they can't perform a transaction without that information, I thank them for my time and take my business elsewhere.

Remember that AD? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349453)

Anybody remembers that AD that shows how america would have been if everybody was not free? The one that takes place in a library... Where a guy is gonna get arrested...

Remember that???

It is nice to see... (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349455)

that some are opposing such horrible violations of our rights. I only hope that they do not pay a terrible price for fighting against this.
The truely sad part of this, is that this is not the worse. This admin has been not only stealing so many of our rights, but also taking away our ability to know what is going on. Public scrutiny of all processes (check and balances) is just as important to prevent abuses.

How about videostores? (1)

JonWan (456212) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349471)

Dosen't the Bork law says videostores can't give out this kind of info without a warrent? My older customers like being able to ask if they have rented a movie before. I usually delete this info at the end of the year just to save space on the hard drive. The problem with the program I use it's all or nothing.

We all know that terrorist rent movies to learn how to blow up things. ;-)

A principled stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349480)

Whether or not you agree (as I do) with this particular bookseller, you have to admire the guts it takes to say, essentially, "I will be charged with obstruction of justice before I will help the government spy on its own citizens." While the Justice Dept would never misuse its powers (If you don't believe me, just ask them), it's good to see Americans realizing that it is their job to police the police.

C'mon, it works . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349508)

. . . didn't anyone see Se7en?

It's less a matter of bad policy than technology (1)

apeleg (159527) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349520)

The very fact that the government, or amazon, or whover, can scan your book purchasing history quickly and easily implies that they will ... it would require heroic restraint on the part of any government not to make use of the (nosy, instrusive) tools that the information age provides in order to "protect" the public.

And there aint no heroes in Washington.

Moral to this story: Expect everything purchase that you make to become part of the public record.

what about public libraries??? (2, Interesting)

nuwayser (168008) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349535)

aren't they required to keep logs of the books their customers take out? they can't just delete that information, can they??

YAY! (1)

BFaucet (635036) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349557)

I'm going to have to buy a book from them.

Thank you, Bear Pond Books! I could kiss you... if I didn't live in Florida.

Very Respectable (1)

adamvjackson (607836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349563)

That is a very respectable move. In these ages of increased security, there is a trade off - That being, rights for security. With current news of TCPA, etc. it's nice to see someone take a stand.

Re:Very Respectable (2, Insightful)

BFaucet (635036) | more than 11 years ago | (#5349604)

What's really bad is that it's not a tradeoff. These right restrictions and constitutional violations will not give us extra security.

Restaurant in India replaces waiters w/ Computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349566)

Nothing New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349571)

I wonder how many businesses are doing this. I know that my bookstore has been, without customers having to ask, since right after the PATRIOT act was passed. Who else knows about companies that purge records to protect customers?

Peggy Bresee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5349600)

Peggy Bresee was in Bear Pond Books recently to buy "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" and "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" as birthday gifts for a son who lives in Utah. She had the store purge the purchase records.
"It really does make me feel so much better," she said. "They're protecting those of us who are readers. It matters."

LOL. I'm glad she feels better because now millions of people know exactly what she bought, where she bought it, who she bought it for, and where he lives.

In fact, I have a mind to give her a call right now at her home in Plainview, VT (thank you, Yahoo [yahoo.com] ) at (802) 454-XXXX and personally thank her for her attention to privacy!

Your brain. Don't leave home without it!

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