#1 It is not an issue of "free speach (tm)" - it is an issue of theft of service, trespassing, fraud and network abuse. Ever wonder why no spammer has ever won a case in court over this? It is because the courts have affirmed repeatedly that your right to free speech ends at the property line of private networks, and that is what the Internet is: a an inter-network of mostly private networks. In the NSF days you might have had a free speech issue, but in the NSF days you would be kicked off the net if you tried to spamvertise because the NSF AUP strictly prohibited commercial activity on the ARPA/Internet. Your right to free speech does not give you the right to come into someones home and force your presence/speech upon them. Your right to free speech does not give you the right to use someones private line to make your calls.
If you are such a fan of free speech, how would you like it if someone started faxing you 20 page documents every day, eating up your paper, your toner, and tying up your fax line?
Another example: shouldn't your definition of the right to free speech mean that you can submit articles to the New York Times and force them to print it lest they be infringing on your right to free speech? Or is the New York Times a private organization which has the right to decide how their resources are used?
Again, spam is NOT a free speech issue - it is about transfer of cost of advertising. Spam is like having telemarketers call you collect and you not be able to hang up until the telemarketer is done and you not be able to refuse the long distance charge. THAT is what spam does. It makes everyone *except* the crook/spammer pay for the advertisement.
Right now less an one percent of the businesses on the net spamvertise, and you probably see a handful of spam a day or week. Now imagine that jumps to 10 percent because of laws passed to *protect* the spammers, like the Murkowski bill that failed (the spam part.) That few per week could easily turn into hundreds or more per week. And if you use POP/POP3, you will have to wait for all of that junk to download just so you can read your favorite listserv traffic.
The spammers killed usenet and will kill email itself if they are not stopped. And if all you do is delete it, you are helping them do so.
"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
On Tue, 2 Feb 1999, Mark D. Fulwiler wrote:
From: "Mark D. Fulwiler" <email@example.com>
To: extropians-digest <firstname.lastname@example.org>
X-mailer: Mozilla 4.5 (Macintosh; I; PPC)
I find spam to be a nuisance, but like the mass U.S. Snail mailings of Publisher's Clearing House, it is free speech. I do not agree that distinctions should be made between commercial and noncommercial speech. It just takes me a few seconds of the day to put this stuff in my trash can and dispose of it. I have a life but I wonder about those people who are pushing for a big government solution to this non-problem.
-- James D. Wilson http://www.pixi.com/~netsurf/
"non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem"
William of Ockham (1285-1347/49)