1997-05-31 - Re: Rotenberg as the Uber Enemy

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: cypherpunks@algebra.com
Message Hash: 9e52be349d764478fd84039e459db1938a4ccfef01475c9bb6977d971ce92e42
Message ID: <v03102802afb5fd674225@[]>
Reply To: <v03102801afb561409260@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-31 16:38:04 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 00:38:04 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 00:38:04 +0800
To: cypherpunks@algebra.com
Subject: Re: Rotenberg as the Uber Enemy
In-Reply-To: <v03102801afb561409260@[]>
Message-ID: <v03102802afb5fd674225@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 7:10 AM -0700 5/31/97, Robert A. Costner wrote:

>I have not heard Rotenberg's statements on private collection of public data
>and spam, but I can make my own.
>At 10:13 PM 5/30/97 -0700, Tim May wrote:
>>The latest quote is from Marc Rotenberg, on a CNN piece on spam and
>>anti-spam legislation, saying that what the legislators in Congress really
>>need to look into is how the spammers develop their data bases.....
>>Incredible. Does he propose investigations of private data gathering?
>I'd agree here.  Rather than have Congress blindly pass a law, some
>investigation of the matter should be done first.  While I am not
>supporting a
>law, any such law should have three parts:

Even better: "Congress shall make no law..."

Not _some_ law, but *no* law.

The compilation of records, files, dossiers, gossip, etc., is a clearly
protected First Amendment (and probably Fourth, against search and seizure)

(Now if I break into your house to Xerox your papers to add to my dossiers,
this is not permitted, unless I am with one of the government's secret
police agencies.)

>As for investigations into data gathering, I've been doing that for some
> It has educated me, and would no doubt educate congress.  Two years ago, I
>spoke with the president of Pro-CD, a popular CD-phonebook company.  I asked
>him why unlisted numbers are not on the CD's, and why so few fax numbers are
>on the CD's.  This information is readily available.  He said that only
>previous published collections are republished by him.  What spammers are
>doing is invasive in that they are collecting the information for the first

"Invasive"? We have to be careful here. There are two main senses of

"invasive - something I don't like."

"invasive - an illegal violation of my rights."

I may find it invasive when a bum asks me for spare change, but it is not
illegal (anti-begging laws are unconstitutional, obviously).

>>I may not "like" it, but their behavior is as legal as someone
>>calling me on the phone.
>I'll agree with you to some degree.  After all, it *IS* ILLEGAL for
>someone to
>call you on the phone for the equivalent of spam, many people would like
>spam to be just as illegal.  However there are loopholes in the law that

If it is "ILLEGAL" (your emphasis) for someone to call me on the phone for
spamming, why then do I get so many such calls? Why aren't the prisons full?

(Answer: Because it is NOT illegal for people to call me, or for me to call
others, or for me to even call thousands of others. True, it is possible
for me (I disagree with these laws, though, and cite the First again) for
me to _ask_ that they not call me. Maybe even jump through hoops and get an
injunction. )

There are laws on the books which prohibit fully automated calls with no
humans in the loop, but these are easily bypassed. (E.g., the boiler-room
minimum wage employees in Detroit and Chicago who pick up the phone several
seconds after I have picked up and then start a barely understandable
spiel...I've prettty much taken to hanging up if no human voice appears
within the first couple of seconds, as I know I am being handed off to the
next available "human.")

>email to be sent under the same circumstances.  State laws, and the federal
>law have provisions such as time ranges calls can be made (daytime hours
>only), prohibitions on the use of automated equipment, removal lists, and
>destinations absolutely prohibited (hospitals, emergency numbers).

And I disagree with most of these laws, as being state intrusion into
communication. There are other solutions besides more laws.

>Pick up any metropolitan newspaper.  Count the number of classified ads on
>given day.  Spam is cheaper and reaches more people.  Would you like to see
>this number of spams in you mail box?  Will you honestly say that 500-1000
>spams in your mailbox is simply annoying?  Multiply this by the number of
>newspapers in the US.

Your point being?

Any laws forbidding spam generation in the U.S. will simply (or already)
move the spam-originating sites offshore. Then what happens? Is my ISP
supposed to screen international messages for me? Do we get the
U.N./OECD/Interpol/Illuminati to "regularize" anti-spam laws in all 197
recognized nations?

The "500 messages a day" problem will be solved through other means.  It
has to be. Laws are insufficient, and wrong-headed, solutions for speech

>The manner in which the information is collected is invasive.  People feel
>their privacy is being violated.  The right to be left alone is a fundamental

I don't give a goddamned shit what "people feel" one way or another. People
"feel" there ought to be a _lot_ of laws, especially for other people. So?

It's sad to see a leader of Electronic Frontiers-Georgia making these lame
arguments about why more laws are needed.

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."