Big Brother in the books?

— 1:42 AM on November 23, 1999

Here's a pretty wacky one. This item reports that an online rare bookstore supplied e-mail service to its cusomers, then intercepted e-mail messages from those customers to

The U.S. Attorney's office claims the messages were intercepted to glean information about customers' buying habits. The online bookstore claims it was trying to track down problems customers had reported with regard to not receiving e-mail. According to the prosecutor of the case, there's no direct evidence of the conduct causing financial harm to anyone involved, but over 4000 e-mails were intercepted. Personally, I'd just like to hear how it is that a company gets into the business of providing e-mail service and dealing in rare books; I'll bet that makes for a strange mission statement.

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