Spam, Legislation, and the First Amendment: email from Mick Dennis

I received this email from Mick Dennis, regarding my participation in the Great American Pink-Out. I've written a lengthy reply.
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 16:41:17 -0400
From: "M. Dennis" <>
Subject: Thanks and by the way...(RE:SB1618)

Hi Eric,

First, let me thank you for the great info you have on your PIC page, great work!

Now, if you will, I'd like to address the 'think pink' concept with you for a moment.

While I agree the voluminous amounts of junk mail are, at the very least, annoying, I oppose any law designed to prevent anyone from communicating anything non-life-threatening to another person. I'll summarize my reasons as this:

1. How can you really define 'junk' without having law enforcement agencies applying the interpretation to individuals to whom may not have the original target of the legislation (Remember: the current laws against private encryption were the result of laws intended to protect military grade encryption during 1945 and were misplaced to 'whack' on guys like Phil Zimmerman;)

2. Who will be responsible for enforcing the new laws? The same folks who are trying to push the Clipper initiative down our throats? How can we trust them to be responsible for enforcing junk mail laws appropriately when 'we' scream 'they' can't be trusted to use the Clipper chip responsibly?

3. Any initiative to limit any form of communication on the Internet destroys the true 'freedom' offered by the Internet. The ability of anyone to communicate ideas to a vast majority without fear of government retribution. (And its just damn unconstitutional).

I respect your desire to affect a change, I simply question how deeply you've thought through your position.

Mick Dennis

"When any government, or church for that matter, attempts to say to its subjects 'this you may not see, this you may not hear, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives." Robert Heinlein

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Last updated June 14, 1998

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