Alastair’s Place

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Virginia Anti-spam Law “not Constitutional”?!

Apparently the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that the state of Virginia’s anti-spamming law violates First Amendment rights. Or, perhaps more accurately, that it will not challenge the opinion of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Virginia on the matter.

But as Spamhaus previously observed, it is illegal for sound trucks to “drive around neighbourhoods blasting amplified announcements” and for pirate radio stations to “flood the airwaves with broadcasts of any content”, nor is it acceptable for anyone but U.S.P.S. to put printed material in peoples’ mailboxes or for people to graffiti things or to leaflet car parks.

This misuse of the right of Freedom of Speech in the United States Constitution represents a substantive abuse of the purpose of the First Amendment; it was never intended to be used to permit the sending of junk e-mail, whether or not that e-mail contains speech that is otherwise protected. Freedom of Speech is really about whether or not the state is able to punish someone for speaking their mind, not about whether or not they should be allowed to fill the e-mail inboxes of millions of innocent citizens with often unpleasant and unwanted messages, with the resulting harm to both legitimate senders of e-mail and to individuals and corporations alike.