Freedom of Speech Takes Another Hit

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. From History News Network:

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.

The reason?

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.”

Partial explanation:

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.

7 Comments
  1. I stopped offering email subscriptions entirely after that happened last year; I reinstituted them after deciding that those states could kiss my ass.

  2. Seems the net is heading towards the Chinese model. Soon ‘they’ will censor such pesky words as Liberty, free speech, anti-war, corruption, cronyism etc.

    “When Injustice becomes Law, Resistance becomes Duty”

    Democracy is DEADER than Bela Lugosi, Corporate Fascism rules the day & the ranks of the rebellious are growing, that is why the Neocons are using incremental steps to enslave us all. They are searching for that delicate level of oppression JUST before we blow. A cancer is not a conspiracy but it IS malignant, surgery time is ticking…

  3. As long as they don’t take away beer and Jerry Springer, most of America would never notice.

  4. Between this and McCain wiping with the First Amendment, it’s a wonder we’ll be able to post commen- hey, wait, someone’s banging on my doo BLAM BLAM BLAM

    “Speech Police! Stop or we’ll – aw, hell, Jim… you killed another Constitution-hugger…”

    “Then we’re above quota. Who’s up for a trip to Hooter’s?”

  5. yep. China is the model. They will outlaw all political speech, but allow economic ‘freedom’ as long as you keep your credit card balance up.

    China will not need to fight any war with us. We are heading their way very fast.

  6. Hillary Clinton wanted the Almighty FedGov to be the “gateway” for the internet… info flows in, filters through her kidneys, and gets excreted and onto your screen.

    She wanted that back when the ‘net was in its infancy. The Hildabeast is not a stupid creature. And she’s not the only one who DOES want a “ChinaNet” model… McCain’s been laying some of the groundwork for her, and could Bill Gates be far behind? Hell, between him, Google, et al, they could do it tomorrow, if they thought they could pull off the coup.

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