Anonymous Emailer Annoyed By Anti-Annoy Law

from the start-the-lawsuits dept

While there’s still some level of disagreement over what an updated law really says concerning the legality of anonymous annoying communications, the operator of an anonymous emailing service is concerned enough that it’s decided to sue for an injunction against enforcing the law. The government’s defense may simply be that lots of people are misreading the law — but, perhaps that’s a good reason that the language ought to be clarified.

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Comments on “Anonymous Emailer Annoyed By Anti-Annoy Law”

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Christopher (user link) says:

Not so unclear really...

“any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or child pornography, with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person”


“which is obscene or child pornography, knowing that the recipient of the communication is under 18 years of age”


“repeatedly initiates communication with a telecommunications device, during which conversation or communication ensues, solely to harass any person at the called number or who receives the communication;”

Not altogether unclear… it is only criminal if the intent is to annoy (abuse threaten or harass)…

The part that amuses me with getting up at arms is that it ALREADY included text messaging, paging, email, newsgroups… etc…

Doing any of the above (and MORE) over a “telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications device” is a violation.

I would have considered an internet connected PC to be a “telecommunications device” all along… and so would you…

This law was ALREADY there, they just clarified it…

Spammers are just about the only people SAFE from this, because their intent is (cough) pure… They ONLY want to advertise, possibly cheat you, possibly offer you fake rolex’s… They are never actively trying to annoy you… the rest of us… eh… we tend to have other things in mind.

Seth Finkelstein (user link) says:

Crying Wolf, again

The “interpretation” is a fiction concocted by the same guy who fabricated the Al Gore / Internet story (and for a time, was proud of that).

For the debunking, read:


[Orin Kerr, January 10, 2006 at 1:12am]
A Skeptical Look at “Create an E-annoyance, Go to Jail”:

Declan McCullagh has penned a column that is custom-designed to race
around the blogosphere. It begins:

“Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime. It’s no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity. … [ed: snip]”

This is just the perfect blogosphere story, isn’t it? It combines threats to bloggers with government incompetence and Big Brother, all wrapped up and tied togther with a little bow. Unsurprisingly, a lot of bloggers are taking the bait.

Skeptical readers will be shocked, shocked to know that the truth is quite different. …

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