Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Free speech, my axx…

When the Direct Marketing Association won a hearing in U.S. Federal Court in Denver saying that the Federal “Do Not Call” list violated their right to free speech, my first reaction—like that of many Americans—was “Free speech, my axx!” (or something thereabouts). Once I read that the opinion had been based on the fact that charities had been permitted to call despite the list, I understood what the judge was looking at.

The bigger question is where the line for free speech is drawn. Telemarketers have abused the system. I put the telephone in here so friends, family, bosses, and clients could get in touch with me when necessary, not so every marketer in the country could play hell with my evenings. And why would I believe the DMA’s rhetoric that telemarketers won’t call people who don’t want to be called when these guys have consistently shown already that they will blatantly break the law. Current law forbids these guys from calling after 9 p.m.; we get calls as late as 9:45 p.m. here. Not only that, but I believe it’s against the law for these guys not to tell you what organization they’re with, and I just had a telemarketer with a blocked number do just that.

I just ordered Anonymous Call Rejection from Southwestern Bell. That’ll cut off all the ones who block their numbers and let me see the numbers of those who call anyway. I intend to complain to the Federal Communications Commission about each and every one of them.