Kill Bill


New at Reason: Can a bad piece of proposed legislation drive out a worse piece of signed legislation? Where anti-spam laws are concerned, Walter Olson is betting on the pre-emption.

NEXT: Almost?

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  1. It’s hard to say which bill is worse. The YOU-CAN-SPAM bill (I thought I’d named it that, but 1000 other people beat me to it) provides a federally acceptable mechanism for spamming, and thus is worse than no legislation. It’s also useless, since most spam comes from overseas servers that heavily disguise the source of the material.

    Ultimately, spam is a computer security problem. The email protocols are designed such that anyone in the world can put any amount of content into any mailbox in the world. Expecting any kind of legislation to solve the problem is hopeless until the technology changes to at least make spamming difficult.

  2. If libertarians must come from either the right or the left then Walt must certainly come from the right. He thinks anything is immoral if it interferes with -gasp- business, the most important human activity on earth. Well, I have a business and I think the California Spam bill is just fine. I also love the legal cottage industry that surrounds the FAX spammers. I once had a critical insurance document that I needed FAXed to my office. I was off-site at the time so I just assumed it came in fine. What I hadn’t seen is that ten 4 page spam FAXes had come before and emptied the machine of paper and filled it’s internal memory to the point where the FAX I had to have that day was not received.

    Oh, poor little Hooters went bankrupt after a FAX festival. Good. Maybe they should read Miss Manners and then THINK before intruding on other peoples privacy and paper. I hope the same goes for emails. We didn’t have emails 10 years ago. We can get by just fine without any unsolicited emails today. Look at the spam rage guy here in Silicon Valley. He threatened death to the spammer and they never took him off the list. They did bother to turn him in to the FBI. This is the scum we deal with. Just because Walt would use it responsibly does not mean the few thousand pigs out there won’t ruin it for everyone. I propose Islamic law. First spam offense, cut off their fingers. Second spam offense– death. I’d say the mail volume would drop considerably. The federal law is a joke. Put my name on a list? Are you insane? The russians will be using it as a mailing list within a week. What pathetic fools. No, the death penalty, that’s the solution.

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