Earlier in the week I got into a discussion with realthog
about the FBI's attempt to identify some of the users of Amazon Marketplace
. In my usual mumbling way I said I saw this as just a case of people doing their jobs. The FBI wanted to identify those people because they had done business with someone they were building a case against, and some of them might have been witnesses. The judge saw the request might cause a precent, and denied them permission. This is how the system is supposed to work, and, to my mind at least, it worked well in this case.
On the other hand, I don't think I can ride to the defence of this
with quite such a clear conscience. It appears that, under bounty-hunting laws that go back to the 19th Century, the United States is quite within its rights to `kidnap' anyone, anywhere, and bring them back to the US for trial. I'm not certain what I find more alarming - that they can do it at all, or that they've been able to do it since the 1860s and nobody seems to have known about it.