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Junk faxes to be legalized as "opt-out?"

By kc7gr 15 in News
Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 09:44:11 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

The Register ran a story on August 6th called 'Phone spam misery looms stateside.' It seems that there's legislative nastiness underway in Washington, DC to essentially gut the existing junk fax law, and replace it with a marketer's wet dream.

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comments (24)
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47 USC 227 is a section of the United States Code that should be well known to anyone who uses a fax machine. Better known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, it prohibits the transmission of unsolicited advertising messages to any fax machine unless the owner of the machine has explicitly requested to receive them, or has an existing business relationship with the sender. This particular law has withstood at least one challenge of its constitutionality in 1995 (see Destination Ventures, Ltd. v. FCC, 844 F.Supp. 632, affirmed 46 F.3d 54, 9th Cir. 1995)

Now, though, it seems that the TCPA is under a very subtle and sneaky form of attack. Changes to the law as proposed in S.2603, a bill euphemistically called the "Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2004," would essentially gut the existing law and legalize unsolicited fax advertisements as long as the receiving party does not explicitly request that they be stopped.

In other words, junk faxes will, if this bill is passed in its current form, become 'opt-out' marketing instead of the current state of 'opt-in,' and it will probably come as no surprise to anyone that one of the bill's sponsors is Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, perhaps better known as the 'Senator from Disney.'

The changes proposed by this bill also redefine 'business relationship' to mean as little as a single transaction within no less than five years, and no more than seven.

The Vulture Central version of the story claims that the amendments made will also eliminate the right of private action of junk FAX recipients against the senders, but I can't see where they got that from in the actual bill text. I will say that these changes would certainly make it a lot harder to sue junk faxers.

We've already seen, in gruesome detail, what a horrible mess opt-out models of advertising have made of E-mail, and spam is likely to get worse before it gets better. Are we now going to see the same problem with fax machines?

If you want to at least try to keep your fax machine junk-free, I would suggest contacting your local congresscritter, and asking them to kill S.2603 now, while there's still a chance to do so.


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Related Links
o 'Phone spam misery looms stateside.'
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Junk faxes to be legalized as "opt-out?" | 84 comments (65 topical, 19 editorial, 2 hidden)
Hi (1.75 / 8) (#2)
by WorkingEmail on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:55:08 AM EST

When you use an acronym, spell it out the first time. What does FAX stand for?

Its an abbrevation (3.00 / 4) (#4)
by GenerationY on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:18:10 AM EST

not an acronym. Its short for "facsimilie machine'.

[ Parent ]
Touche (none / 1) (#6)
by grouse on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:47:44 AM EST

But in that case, why did the author capitalize it as if it were an acronym? Explain that, Mr. Smartypants.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

On acronyms... (none / 1) (#7)
by GenerationY on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 05:23:23 AM EST

The OP was in error :)

That said, I did wonder if it was an American-English thing (I've noticed quite a lot of abbreviations that don't stand for anything get capitalised. e.g., HAM radio)

Heres a question thats been bugging me for ages however. Take a look at the dictionary definition for acronym:
A word formed from the initial letters of a name, such as WAC for Women's Army Corps, or by combining initial letters or parts of a series of words, such as radar for radio detecting and ranging.

OK, its only from Dictionary.com, but the OED has a similar statement. Two things here. First, acronyms are not always capitalised. Fair enough. But second, acr*nyms* have to make a word.

That being the case, IBM is not an acronym. Question is, what is the term for it?

[ Parent ]

*Blush* (none / 0) (#8)
by GenerationY on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 05:55:53 AM EST

Thinking about fax is probably an acronym after all and IBM...an abbreviation? Doesn't seem right though.

[ Parent ]
fax = facsimile (none / 0) (#43)
by nh1 on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 12:43:25 AM EST

Thinking about fax is probably an acronym

No, an abbreviation, for "facsimile". So lower case.

[ Parent ]

Initialism. (nt) (3.00 / 3) (#10)
by ubernostrum on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:41:39 AM EST

You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Hiya (none / 1) (#11)
by grouse on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:47:54 AM EST

The OP was in error :)

Perhaps Mr. WorkingEmail was pointing this out in a subtle manner? ;)

That said, I did wonder if it was an American-English thing (I've noticed quite a lot of abbreviations that don't stand for anything get capitalised. e.g., HAM radio)

It's about as American-English as spelling the verb "loose." I hope I am not being too subtle here as well.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

I was just being a smartarse<nt> (none / 0) (#12)
by GenerationY on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:50:22 AM EST

[ Parent ]
IBM's not an acro? (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by DLWormwood on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:02:46 AM EST

That being the case, IBM is not an acronym. Question is, what is the term for it?

Doesn't IBM stand for International Business Machines? If your objection is that the pronounciation is spelled, rather than pronounced, it doesn't matter.

From dictionary.com...

A sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing or printing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning

It's still treated as a single grammatical entity that's pronounced "eye-bee-ehm".
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]

OED (1.66 / 3) (#17)
by GenerationY on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:19:55 AM EST

I'm home now so I can reach for my OED (which is really where this all started) which is I think it is uncontroversial to say, the authority on the english language. By contrast, I've had some ropey definition from dictionary.com before now.

The OED says it does matter:

Acronym: a pronouncable name made up of a series of initial letters or parts of words. Example: UNESCO.

IBM is not a pronouncable name.

[ Parent ]

If it's OED, it's QED... (2.50 / 6) (#21)
by DLWormwood on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:57:44 PM EST

IBM is not a pronouncable name.

Yes, it is. It's "eye-bee-ehm." Yes, I'm being pedantic. After all, you see "Threepio" as often as 3PO when refering to the Star Wars 'droid.

To call any one dictionary an "authority" on English is somewhat pretentious, since dictionaries are designed to only deal with denotiative meanings, as opposed to connotative ones. The popular usage of "acronym" has developed the connotation where spelled abbreviations are refered to with the same term as "pronouncable" ones. You, yourself, mentioned in another message that something about this topic "doesn't seem right." I'd say it's the juggling between the D-meaning and C-meaning that's causing the nagging feeling...
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]

What OED are you using? (3.00 / 3) (#27)
by grouse on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 06:13:38 PM EST

Mine says simply "a word formed from the initial letters of other words."

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

The Oxford English Dictionary (2.00 / 3) (#28)
by GenerationY on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 06:33:35 PM EST

...the one thats is like a set of encylopaedias.
Its not exactly new though (I have it as someone else's unwanted inheritance, I wouldn't spend a grand on a dictionary, the shelf space is more than enough commitment).

Perhaps the definition has had some slippage?

[ Parent ]

Ah (none / 1) (#29)
by grouse on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 07:09:45 PM EST

I'm using the 1989 edition, so if yours is very old then that would explain it.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

Correct (none / 0) (#83)
by chuhwi on Sat Aug 21, 2004 at 11:38:55 PM EST

The current, online, version of the OED confirms your definition, Grouse.

[ Parent ]
Acronyms (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by nh1 on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 12:39:58 AM EST

First, acronyms are not always capitalised. Fair enough. But second, acr*nyms* have to make a word. That being the case, IBM is not an acronym. Question is, what is the term for it?

An initialism is a "word" made from initials. An acronym is a pronounceable initialism (like Nasa). UK usage is to use lower case, or an initial cap only, for acronyms, and caps for plain initialisms. Also in UK (an initialism, not an acronym) usage the points are often dropped in both cases, and always in acronyms; Americans tend to keep them. But it's becoming common to use "acronym" for all cases now.

See Mavens' Word of the Day.

[ Parent ]

Ok, here's what the OED says (none / 0) (#60)
by Lode Runner on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 10:14:42 PM EST

Here's its definition:
(Orig. U.S.) A word formed from the initial letters of other words. Hence as v. trans., to convert into an acronym (chiefly pass. and as pa. pple.). Also acronymic a.; acronymically adv.; acronyming vbl. n.; acronymize v. trans.
Also the OED quote selection contains a few stretches (b-ball?!) and one ambivalent example (IRA):
1943 Amer. N. & Q. Feb. 167/1 Words made up of the initial letters or syllables of other words..I have seen..called by the name acronym. 1947 Word Study 6 (title) Acronym Talk, or `Tomorrow's English'. 1947 Word Study May 6/2 Some new forms combine the initial syllables (resembling blends) instead of initial letters, as in the case of Amvets (American Veterans' Association)..but they still are in the spirit of acronyming. Ibid. 7/2 There has definitely been a speed-up in `acronyming'. 1950 S. POTTER Our Language 163 Acronyms or telescoped names like nabisco from National Biscuit Company. 1954 Britannica Bk. of Yr. 1954 638/1 Typical of acronymic coinages, or words based on initials, were..MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital). 1956 R. WELLS in M. Halle et al. For Roman Jakobson 665 Take the WE counterpart of the SE expression to be acronymized (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and select from each word the first one or two or three letters in such a way that the selected letters, assembled and regarded as one word, will have a normal, pronounceable SE counterpart. 1967 Sci. News 19 Aug. 177/1 The TacSatCom, as it is acronymed, is a small-scale system which should be in the field soon. 1971 Daily Tel. 3 Feb. 12 Has the Establishment realised, inquires an acronymically-minded reader, that if the Industrial Relations Bill becomes law, it will not be only Ireland that is saddled with an IRA? 1972 Sat. Rev. (U.S.) 3 June 30 Nitrogen oxide, acronymed NOx, is another of the plant's noxious by-products. 1981 Amer. Speech LVI. 65 Byte is a fairly far-fetched way of acronymizing binary digit eight. 1981 Maledicta V. 99 Who were the real `ethnics', acronymically speaking? 1983 Verbatim Spring 2/2 Paulies play puck (ice hockey) or hoop (basketball, also acronymed to b-ball).
Finally, IBM is an abbreviation -- found it under the "abbreviations" section for the OED entry for I.

Read Simon Winchester's new book? And please be nice, or I'll have to say cruel things about Iain "The future is bright, bright red" Banks.

[ Parent ]

Not always the rule (1.66 / 3) (#14)
by squigly on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 10:19:57 AM EST

Aside from the fact that we all know FAX stands for Fax Assisted Xerox - Well known acronyms need not be spelled out.  For example, we can assume that everyone knows who IBM are, what a VIP is, and where the USA is.

[ Parent ]
So "FAX" is a recursive acronym? (none / 2) (#15)
by grouse on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 10:24:42 AM EST

Yeah right.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

No, of course not. (none / 1) (#73)
by squigly on Sat Aug 14, 2004 at 11:37:19 AM EST

If it was recursive, it would stand for FAX Assisted Xerox.  Fax, is of course short for Facsimile.

[ Parent ]
Email isn't even close to being on it's knees. (2.50 / 2) (#18)
by Fon2d2 on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:28:54 AM EST

I have two web accounts and a work account. One web account is for personal use amongst friends only and never gets spam. The other web account is for required email fields on websites (Orbitz, Amazon, etc.). It gets inundated with spam but most of it gets filtered and it's no real difficulty to sort registration notices, ticket confirmations, and the like. So far, to my knowledge, the filter has never filtered out a legitimate message. My work account also receives virtually no spam. My "business" web account used to be my personal account. It was when the spam got to heavy that I moved personal email to a new account. These are pretty simple principles, pretty easy to implement, and very effective. Spam has a long way to go before it strongly affects my email use.

Then your lucky. (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 07:11:07 AM EST

The spam filters on my main account have completely collapsed from the new "free verse poetry" approach.

I ended up giving up an email address I had since 1994 because the spam to mail ratio was well over 100 to 1.

Could be worse. Could be raining!
[ Parent ]

You're not running a business, eh? (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by CaptainZapp on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 04:12:03 AM EST

Because I do.

And in a business environment some James Bond type setup where a prospect gets the email address at 3am behind the phone booth at the main post office from a guy with a trench coat, yesterdays copy of the New York Times tugged under the left arm and a pink carnation in his lapel doesn't quite work out.

That means you have to publish a contact address if you run a web site. You want to make access easy for potential clients.

I know there are all sorts of neato tricks to masquarade an email address, but that sort of pisses on the goal that it should be readable with any browser even with scripting capabilities turned off.

My point is that you can't just look at spam from your isolated point of view. The fact that ~ 200 hard core spamers make a killing by abusing a common resource is simply not tolerable, period!

[ Parent ]

Heh? (3.00 / 2) (#49)
by mcrbids on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 05:19:30 AM EST

That means you have to publish a contact address if you run a web site. You want to make access easy for potential clients.

Make it easy = yes. Publish your address = NO F!@#ING WAY!

It's very VERY easy to hide your email address from scammers.

1) Use a web input form, and hackney up your email address in the input form, in a hidden field.

2) If somebody wants your email address, provide a simple form where they can enter *their* email address. Then, send it to them.

3) Use a challenge/response system for your email. If it's configured properly, sending somebody an email will allow them to reply without issues.
I kept looking around for somebody to solve the problem. Then I realized... I am somebody! -Anonymouse
[ Parent ]

I agree. There are ways. [n/t] (none / 1) (#52)
by Fon2d2 on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 11:09:55 AM EST

[ Parent ]
don't publish; still spammed (2.75 / 4) (#72)
by nh1 on Sat Aug 14, 2004 at 01:44:47 AM EST

>3) Use a challenge/response system for your email. If it's configured properly, sending somebody an email will allow them to reply without issues.

Problem is when you get a bunch of spam with a random return address, you will then spam the poor bastard who got Joe-jobbed.

And regardless of how you guard your address, eventually it gets in people's address books, and then one of them gets a virus like Netsky and it gets broadcast all over. This happened to me a few months ago with an acocunt I never published.

Also another ISP address I had (user@ISP.com)I never used (except for billing from the ISP), but did put some webpages there (http://home.ISP.com/~user), addressed by a cjb domain redirect. Now I get tons of spam there, I suspect someone went through a search for ~user web pages and used that to reconstruct the address.

[ Parent ]

It is official; Netcraft confirms: E-mail is dying (1.00 / 25) (#31)
by Empedocles on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 04:00:48 AM EST

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered E-mail community when IDC confirmed that E-mail market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 50 percent of all comminiques. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that E-mail has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. E-mail is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by falling dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive comminique test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict E-mail's future. The hand writing is on the wall: E-mail faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for E-mail because the SMTP protocol is dying. Things are looking very bad for E-mail. As many of us are already aware, E-mail continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Well-known E-mail expert WorkingEmail states that there are 50 million users of E-mail. How many users of the U.S. Postal System are there? Let's see. The number of USPS users versus E-mail users on is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 30*5 = 250 million U.S.P.S. users.

Due to the troubles of SMTP, a truly abysmal protocol, E-mail is falling out of favor and will probably be taken over by a new protocol proposed by Bill Gates of Microsoft. Now, E-mail follows SMTP to the gallows, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that E-mail has steadily declined in market share. E-mail is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If E-mail is to survive at all it will only be used to send letters to Santa. E-mail continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, E-mail is dead.

Fact: E-mail is dying.

And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

%s/E-mail/faxing/g (nt) (none / 0) (#32)
by NaCh0 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 05:06:58 AM EST

K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]
No (2.00 / 2) (#36)
by useful on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 10:58:22 AM EST

I think the fact that spam is less of a problem now than what it was a few years ago has people creating less new email accounts. This leads to them only being counted once. Email itself isn't dying it's the fact that the newer generation uses instant messaging more and more for less of a reliance on email. For example, Usenet was replaced by forums like phpbb, yet it's still alive. It hasn't enjoyed a huge swell of users but people still use it.

[ Parent ]
Fax IS dying... (3.00 / 2) (#68)
by cpghost on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 12:41:24 PM EST

Fax is actually dying, mostly because it lacks the necessary flexibility w.r.t. anti-spam controls. It is moderatly easy to write an e-mail spam filter, but a fax spam filter is much much more difficult to write and maintain.

If Fax spam takes off, this will effectively be the end of fax as we know it today.

cpghost at Cordula's Web
[ Parent ]
I wonder (3.00 / 2) (#78)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 12:54:33 PM EST

if any fax machines these days have the capability for a thumbnail of the image, page count, and caller ID of the sender, with the option to print or delete...
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
E-mail doesn't cost, paper does! (3.00 / 4) (#44)
by malfunct on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 01:03:30 AM EST

There is time spent reading and dealing with spam but realistically the per message cost to me is very very low. On the other hand the per message cost of a fax is at least 1cent if not closer to 3 or 4. This is just for the paper and toner used (more expensive if you still use the thermal type paper) and doesn't include the lost availablilty of the phone, though its only a few seconds.

I really wish that a phone call would be considered a "home intrusion" of sorts since in all reality they are coming into my home and my time to speak with me. I know thats extreme but I hate unsolicited calls from people I don't know.

Junk faxes cost more than money (3.00 / 4) (#45)
by phr on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 01:41:32 AM EST

For example, I have a fax machine on my home phone line, and while the fax function is usually disabled, somehow my phone number got onto some junk faxer's spam list (I think because I stupidly let my insurance company fax something to it once). That's my HOME phone number. The number of the phone NEXT TO MY BED. That actually RINGS when someone calls it. And junk faxes tend to be sent in the middle of the night, which meant I was getting woken up in the middle of the night several times a week for months. I do not believe for one second that $500 per junk fax is an excessive penalty for being woken up in the middle of the night by a damn robot sending sales pitches. It's not remotely comparable to email spam, which you at least don't have to look at til daytime. And forget about advising me to turn off my phone at night--that stops me from getting legitimate emergency calls. Death to spammers.

[ Parent ]
I'm with you there... (none / 1) (#58)
by malfunct on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 01:21:27 PM EST

Wait until its not an issue to send junk faxes and they just set up a computer to cold call a phone line. There are going to tons of pissed off people that just got thier ear squealed in even though they have never owned a fax.

[ Parent ]
I am so with you (none / 1) (#77)
by facekhan on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 05:06:53 PM EST

I think the private action amounts should be raised to 5000 per violation per incident. So instead of a junk fax coming in in the middle of the night and you being able to sue for 500 for calling so late plus 500 for the junk fax itself. It should be 5000 per junk fax plus aggravating factors like time of day, or after being asked to be removed. In addition many junk faxes come from corporations in the carribean so they skirt the law that way. IMHO the law should be ammended to allow for a judgment to be applied to any assets (ie bank accounts or offices or any property at all or that of its officers or directors)that are located in the US for companies that are incorporated outside the US in order to violate US laws. This might already be the law but it needs to be strengthened so its easier.

[ Parent ]
Email *does* cost money (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by weierophinney on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 10:54:19 AM EST

Yes, the cost of email *appears* to be low, especially when looked at in terms of monthly ISP costs. However, if you're paying for bandwidth (i.e., you're the ISP or a business), the cost of email becomes a nontrivial issue when you look at the excessive volume (i.e. bandwidth) spam creates. In addition, that increased volume can sometimes create a bottleneck for other services if it eats up the available bandwidth or resources (such as database connections for user lookups). Email is *not* free.

[ Parent ]
Costs (none / 1) (#56)
by malfunct on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 12:51:10 PM EST

Yes, my subject line was misleading, the first line of the post however was accurate. The per message cost of e-mail is by far lower than that of a fax. Unfortunately there is tons of e-mail spam being sent so the total cost for all messages is high. I still believe that junk faxes are in a different league.

[ Parent ]
A word on cost (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by CaptainZapp on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 08:38:38 AM EST

I quote a EU document regarding the subject of spam:

Measuring the cost of spam remains a difficult exercise, in particular for individuals, not least because it is difficult to attach a monetary value to some of the harm caused. Estimates are however generally disquieting. As an illustration, Ferris Research has estimated that, in 2002, spam cost European companies 2.5 billion € just in terms of lost productivity. And, as indicated above, the amount of spam has increased considerably since 2002. Software provider MessageLabs Ltd estimated in June 2003 the cost of spam to UK business at about 3'2 billion£.

(Emphasis mine, BTW: GBP 3'200'000'000.00 are USD 5'830'000'000.00 as off today).

We could argue about the accuracy of the numbers and the methodology of the analysis, but what is very clear is the massive costs imposed on all of us and who do you think pays for those costs ultimately?

The report can be found here: Report [PDF].

[ Parent ]

E-mail does cost... (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by elgardo on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 06:39:39 AM EST

How typical. Yankees don't care that even local phone calls are tolled outside USA and Canada. Around here, internet calls are tolled at ca 1.8c/minute. If I turned off my server side junk filter, I would get about 2600 junk mails every day, each at an average 3-4kB - a total of 8.8MB every single day. 56kb/s equals ca 6.4kB/s. The download would take 23.5 minutes, at a total cost of $0.42 EVERY DAY!

Now. Imagine me going away. I download my e-mail to my cell phone at an average rate of 32kb/s, and 13.8c/minute (and I have the cheapest rate in the country!) - the download would take 39.89 minutes and cost me $5.51 EVERY DAY!

In a year, I might do this with the cell about 30 days, and download at home the remaining days. If I don't download one day, that just increases the amount I need to download the next day, so that doesn't matter in the calculations. That's 335 days at $.42, and 30 days at $5.51, which totals at $306/year ($25.5/month average, which incidentally also is the cost of an ADSL connection).

And that doesn't count the cost of sorting out the junk. "Just hit delete" they day. Yeah. Identify and delete 2600 junk mails! That takes time! If you spend 5 seconds per junk mail, it would still take me 3.6 hours. If I had to do this at work, it would cost my employer almost half of my work hours, which again means half of my salary.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (3.00 / 7) (#47)
by CaptainZapp on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 04:15:05 AM EST

Does glueing three black pages of paper together (each of them marked with Opt Out! with a black magic marker) and faxing them in an endless loop over a period of 24 hours to some junk fax submitting scum count as opting out?

Just curious...

I dont think that works (2.00 / 3) (#70)
by Hana Yori Dango on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 07:11:28 PM EST

because most (all?) systems designed to send so many faxes are going to be behind computers which do not use ink to accept incoming faxes, if they do at all... But the "black paper loop" is a tradition for any and all stories about faxing, so carry on.

[ Parent ]
Easy solution for this one.. (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by Kwil on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 04:15:39 AM EST

.. keep the government's fax machines busy 24/7

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze

Curious... (2.00 / 6) (#51)
by Sarojin on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 11:08:48 AM EST

Why do you hate (commercial) freedom of speech so much?

There is freedom to speak (2.75 / 4) (#54)
by aristus on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 12:16:32 PM EST

And there is freedom not to listen. Can I please call your home number at all hours and talk to you about my cat? She's a really nice cat. What's your fax number? I can send you a picture.

Moreover, the idea of "free speech" is predicated on another: "created equal". Corporations are rich, immortal, and largely unaccountable to us pukes. We need every advantage we can get.

??? "A man of imagination among scholars feels like a sodomite at a convention of proctologists." -- Paul West

[ Parent ]
I have no objection to freedom of speech. (3.00 / 5) (#55)
by aphrael on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 12:19:10 PM EST

But the fax owner has to pay for the paper and ink.

[ Parent ]
(commercial) freedom of speech... (2.75 / 4) (#57)
by bjwest on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 01:12:57 PM EST

Besides the fact that the Constitution was written for The People, not the corporations, there should be no freedom of speech protections related to commercial speech. The purpose of commercial speech is to convince you that product A is better than product B, product A is something you can't live without, product A will change your life in ways no product can possibly achieve. Plain and simple, the only purpose of commercial speech is to brainwash the public into thinking they can't live without product A. With todays undersanding of the way our mind works, the corporations are getting more and more successfull at brainwashing us. In my opinion, commercial speech should be heavily regulated and limited only to factual information about a product.

[ Parent ]
Subtle difference ... (2.80 / 5) (#61)
by gdanjo on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 10:42:10 PM EST

Why do you hate (commercial) freedom of speech so much?
Commercial speech is not "free speech" like you and I enjoy - commercial speech has a specific goal: to elicit certain behaviour from the listeners. Corporations that make such "speech" are governed by law as to what they are allowed to elicit, and how they are able to do this. We, too, are limited in what "behaviour eliciting speech" we can make - I can't shout "fire!" in a crowded theatre just to get a seat; similarly, commercial speech shouldn't get to shout "sale!" at any time, anywhere, just to get my attention.

If commercial entities were to say something "interesting" (i.e. non-commercial), it would be the person who said it that gets the credit, not the corporation. Commercial entities can only make "commercial speech" which is, by definition, designed to elicit a specific behaviour, and therefore should not be "free."

Companies ain't people, is what I'm saying.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
[ Parent ]

OK (3.00 / 6) (#63)
by CaptainZapp on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 08:18:26 AM EST

Why do you hate (commercial) freedom of speech so much?

Let's consider that commercial speech can be considered free speech just for the sake of argument.

From this we can conclude that you (the commercial entity) can say whatever you want. It does not mean however that:

I have to listen to your message

That you have the right to use a bullhorn to yell it into my ear

That you have the right to walk into my appartment and yell your message at me

Or - and here we get to the point - that you have a right to steal or hijack my property and/or resources like paper, toner, fax machine use, mass storage, phone line or network to get your message through to me.

In short: You do have a right to say whatever you want (unless it's 0.25 seconds of a boob with a covered nippel on national telly and you are in the US, but I digress), but you have no right to force me to listen to you and you have definitely no right to steal from me to get your message through.

[ Parent ]

Just remember (2.00 / 3) (#66)
by Sarojin on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 12:09:44 PM EST

that your fax machine and your e-mail server have to perform active processes to accept (junk) faxes/mail.

Here is a better metaphor than "That you have the right to walk into my appartment and yell your message at me":

Spammer knocks on your door.
You open the door and let him in and listen attentively to every bit.
He exits politely.
You get into a passive-aggressive rage about how you didn't want him there in the first place.

[ Parent ]

It's a matter of scale (3.00 / 7) (#69)
by CaptainZapp on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 01:02:08 PM EST

First of all: I don't (and won't) have to let that person in. It doesn't matter if he's from Jehovas Witnesses or if he wants to push herbal viagra on me.

Secondly: It is not financially viable to send 3'000'000 door knockers to hawk their wares, while you can send the same amount of emails essentially free and a massive amount of faxes at relatively low cost and at the expense of the receiver.

But most important (as you correctly point out): he has to knock and I'm at liberty to shut the door in his face if he gets persistant.

I don't have that choice with emails or faxes. Since the door must be open for legitimate business the transaction has to be concluded before I know if it's legitimate or not. So - to get back to the analogy - the guy stands in the living room before I can determine if he's a legitimate caller or not.

On a sidenote: I believe (addressed) junk mail is legitimate - alas annoying - to some extent. But then the sender has to pay and not me.

[ Parent ]

Freedom of speech (2.66 / 3) (#65)
by bithead on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 09:52:41 AM EST

Was perhaps intended to serve the public good, and give the people more influence on the course of social development. I think it was hoped that freedom of speech would foster a health marketplace for ideas and positive change. Faxing adds for this, that, and the other thing(s) seems defintely not in that spirit.

[ Parent ]
because... (none / 1) (#82)
by eudas on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 01:47:20 PM EST

because corporations are not citizens; they are entities, but they are not entitled to the same rights.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

How to opt out (2.88 / 9) (#53)
by clambake on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 12:12:16 PM EST

In my country it's considered polite to opt out by faxing back a continuous loop of black construction paper.

Existing business relationship? (none / 1) (#59)
by Metasquares on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 08:40:44 PM EST

The bill states that the entity sending the fax needs to have an existing business relationship with you for the fax to be considered legal. Granted, that paragraph was filled with cross-references, so there might have been something sneaky that I missed. With the names on the bill, I wouldn't be too surprised.

How they defined business relationship (none / 1) (#71)
by malfunct on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 11:49:52 PM EST

Its something like any contact in the last 5 or 7 years. And it wasn't clear what contact counted.

[ Parent ]
Does it include "business partners"? (none / 0) (#76)
by whosyourjudas on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 11:03:19 PM EST

Does having a transaction with a company let their partners fax you legally? If they can, then what purpose has this - if i was a big company, lots of customers, I could make up a list of as many 'business partners' as I wanted if they paid me enough. Or will it come down to each company's individual opt-out policy?

it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye

Why is it that only a few people can be trusted... (2.80 / 5) (#79)
by slappyjack on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 03:02:34 PM EST

...to live by the spirit of the document?

Look, when the freedom speech amendment was written, the mass dirstibution of ideas was expensive unless YOU were the medium of distribution. Thus, freedom of SPEECH.

Speech, as in, "talking", as in "Vocalizations", as in "expelling breath across vibrating vocal chords to make sound."

Then the document was written, the technology did not exist to create one document and have a machine send a copy of that document to each and every number in a list without you doing it yourself. You COULD, however, go to the town square and proceed to shout your head off about how not only does the current government suck, but you also happen to have a magical elixir that will increase the size of thy penis.

You were NOT allowed to go into a persons home and yell this, because that was an invasion of their personal and private space.

This brings us to the "spirit of the document" which has basically been trampled by 200 years of symentically directed attacks and lobbyists with money and a lot of lawyers. Free speech is protected in public, not in someones home or place of business. If you come into my home or office and start shouting "BUY MY PILLS!" I have the right to have you arrested.

In the spirit of the document, junk faxes and spam to email addresses are the same thing as doing just that.

Now, posting your garbage to public areas, such as stapling the document to a public bulleting board in a park, thats free public speech. I'd even go so far as to sat posting your spam messages to public unmoderated newsgroups counts as the same thing.


You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake.

We Need a Law Firm! (none / 1) (#84)
by PhilosophyGeek on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 09:56:43 AM EST

Do you have a fax machine? It's freaking annoying. At one company I worked at, I started a campaign to end all of our fax spam. I noticed that faxes seemed to come from the same sources and figured that I'd be able to eliminate faxes by a combination of methods. First, I called the number at the bottom of every fax to remove us from the list. Second, I saved and documented every fax that we got, hoping that I could take the bastards to small claims court at some point.

Unfortunately, neither technique worked. The number of faxes remained constant, which could suggest several problems. The faxes could be coming from the same place, but with different "remove me from your list" numbers. The faxes could be coming from the same place, who totally disregarded my request. Or, the faxes, in aggreggate, are coming from so many different locations, that it would be possible to remove myself from all lists.

Cataloguing the faxes was also useless, because I didn't have the time or the desire to fill out the paperwork and dink around with small claims court.

Does anyone know of a law firm that would take faxes and sue those bastards who send them? I think it would be a great business! Send them a couple dozen faxes, have them sue all of the manufacturers for you, and take 50% (or less -- as long as I screw the fax companis out of money, I don't really care how much I get) of the profit. Show me the money!

Junk faxes to be legalized as "opt-out?" | 84 comments (65 topical, 19 editorial, 2 hidden)
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