Wendy McElroy of ifeminists announced that she’s halting distribution of her email newsletter because of new child protection laws in a couple of states. :
I just sent the following notice to the thousands of subscribers to ifeminists.net’s e-newsletter to announce its suspension (at least, in emailed form) and to explain the political reasons why that suspension is legally prudent. The notice follows… Hello to all: I am sorry to announce that I will no longer be sending out the weekly ifeminists.net newsletter. Instead, the exact same content will be featured on a page of the website. Of course, news can also be accessed on a daily basis by browsing the newsfeed or by an RSS feed.
On July 1st, new laws regarding e-mailed newsletters went into effect in Utah and Michigan; other states are close behind. Anne P. Mitchell, President/CEO of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy and a law professor, calls those laws “a legal quandry in which every sender of commercial email is about to find themselves.”
Both Utah and Michigan have created a “child protection registry” for email addresses that belong to children or to which children have access. It functions like a “no call list.” Spamfo.co explains, “Once an email address is on the registry, commercial emailers are prohibited from sending it anything containing advertising, or even just linking to advertising, for a product or service that a minor is otherwise legally prohibited from accessing, such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, prescription drugs, or adult-rated material.” In short, e-newsletters (such as ifeminists.net) are not permitted to send to registered email addresses if those newsletters include URLs to news sites that, in turn, link to child-inappropriate commerical information or products such as casino or viagra ads, tobacco or alcohol for sale.
Many credible news sources — especially British ones, it seems — offer links to adult-themed sites or products. These links can change constantly, which means that it is impossible to check a URL and “clear” it of so-called objectionable links or ads.
What’s next? I guessing “free speech e-mail zones” so the President can’t be criticized via Outlook Express. Props.