Supreme Court Won't Consider Virginia Anti-Spam Law

from the spammers-have-rights-too dept

The US Supreme Court has passed on the state of Virginia’s appeal to keep its anti-spam law in place. The state’s Supreme Court had ruled the law was unconstitutional, following the appeal of a spammer that had been convicted under it. He argued that the law overstepped the boundaries by outlawing non-commercial, as well as commercial spam, including things like political and religious speech that have generally been protected under the First Amendment. By not taking up the case, the high court appears to be extending that protection to cover spam as well. On balance, that’s probably a good thing — particularly as this “loophole” is unlikely to really make the spam problem any worse.

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Comments on “Supreme Court Won't Consider Virginia Anti-Spam Law”

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BillDivX says:

Taste of Irony...

This has nothing to do with this story, other than spam, but it’s funny and timely.

As I was emptying my gmail spam folder just now, I noticed that gmail had served me an ad for a recipe site. The site was advertising their recipe “French fry spam casserole”.

The timing just could not be better. I did realize that google’s ad engine was capable of being very relevant, but i did not realize that “relevant” included “ironic” or “sarcastic”

zcat says:

Re: Taste of Irony...

So what do you expect them to advertise? Bulk mailing software? Not likely! Whenever I go into my gmail spam folder the advertisements are _always_ related to Hormel’s processed meat product.

Todays special; “Spam Imperial Tortilla Sandwiches – To serve, cut each roll in half”

..Every single time.

Just Saying says:

Your statement that “particularly as this “loophole” is unlikely to really make the spam problem any worse.” does not make any sense in the context that a commercial spammer is the one getting off the hook here. He is one of the countries most prolific spammers and now free to do his thing again how can you say that?

Carlo says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sorry, #2 doesn’t really help, let me explain it some more.

Some might argue that not covering typically protected speech in spam gives spammers a loophole to exploit by masking their messages in political, religious, or other protected speech. The point is that it doesn’t matter what’s banned or what loopholes exist — anti-spam legislation is wholly ineffective at stopping the problem, for any number of reasons, as current spam levels indicate. Further, stopping/enabling one spammer has no real impact on the overall problem.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

One only has to look at the spam out there today and the spam from a very few years ago to know there is a huge difference in what you are seeing, courtesy of anti-spam laws.

Pretty much all the spam I see these days is aimed either at selling illegal medication (offshore sourced junk), stock picks, home loans, or an attempt to infect my machine with one or more back doors, adding me to a botnet.

The spam has all moved far offshore, often using infected botnet PCs as proxies to other hosts, and almost all at some level a scam. Their volume is huge, but it is 90% repeats on an attempt to trick you, and not a huge number of different spammers.

For most western (specifically US) companies, spam is no longer an acceptable way to operate.

So while the volume of spam is up, the actual content is way down, and few American companies are involved anymore.

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