I was really happy when Amazon restored my CreateSpace publishing rights, when I got them on the phone so we could go back together through the correct and complete tax info I’d already given them. Especially since I keep talking about how some people lied to Congress and other people died, and it would be weird if my publishing rights disappeared after I wrote a book about that.
So I’m unhappy that this looks like it’s going to be a more difficult problem to resolve than I had hoped. Amazon has been a great business partner in publishing my first book, Push Coasts. And they’re trying to take care of their partners while being responsible here. They’re trying to take care of their partners by encrypting tax information, and be responsible by revoking publication rights when the IRS tells them something is not right.
But this creates a loophole for potential abuse in the form of political targeting like the IRS has been used for before. The loophole is that a political opponent can ask the IRS to check a checklist on someone, the IRS can do it and find something off if they’re looking, and then Amazon can’t see what they’re talking about to tell the partner to fix it because the tax info is encrypted.
Amazon should say how they’re going to address that loophole, continuing to lead the cutting edge of information security for clients and responsibility to government.
Since they’ve been such a good business partner in the past, and my tax info is correct and current, I’m sure it won’t be a problem in my case. But I would hate for someone else to feel persecuted for trying to express minority political beliefs in a free society. That’s a bad feeling.
Amazon needs to raise the bar on the IRS, requiring that they give a specific reason and way to clear the bar before they will revoke or even threaten to revoke someone’s publication rights.