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Re: Court challenge to AOL junk-mail blocks

Damaged Justice wrote:
> This is utter horseshit. AOL, like any private individual or organization,
> has the right to refuse service to anyone at any time for any reason, or
> even for no reason at all. 

That seems to undermine the analogy that the Internet is like an immense
electronic postal service, which suggests a more public than private

I take issue with the assumption that a carrier of the "internet postal
service" has the status of a "private individual or organization." I
that a corporation providing a mail delivery service might not be as
free as
a private individual is to set arbitrary limits on the services they
to their customers. Unlike the people who donate their time and
resources to the Internet out of goodwill, and who may set arbitrary
limits on the services 
they provide, in my experience, out of bad will, and who cannot be so
removed, a corporation's business can suffer if it doesn't provide

One of the good things about the commercialization of the Internet is
you can fire those who, instead of providing a service, are busy
exercising arbitrary rights to refuse services unfairly or for no reason 

If the Internet is supposed to be some sort of postal service, and the
ISP's are supposed to be akin to carriers, who don't regulate content,
then I think its wrong for them to regulate the content of the mail
service that they provide, even in the case of junkmail. (Of course
ISP's may impose various network controls that may have the effect of
restricting mass mailings without discriminating against content per se.
However, it is naive to assume that many network controls will not have
some effect on content, simply because of a logical distinction between
network control and editorial control - how many times have you heard 
various thinkers complain that the TV network soundbite isn't enough to
sustain critical commentary, etc?)

>The gubmint isn't doing SQUAT, except forcing
> AOL to allow the spammers access.

Since I reject the flat assumption that corporate ISP's have the same
freedom as private individuals to set limits on the internet services 
they provide  - in this case their freedom to act is limited by business 
constraints - it's fair to ask why it's morally OK for ISP's to censor 
junkmail, but if the government wants to step in, that's another 
matter entirely.

I'm not in favor of the government stepping in, but I am in favor of
some consequences of the commercialization of the internet. A bad
consequence is the increased volume of junkmail. A good consequence 
is the possibility of removing people who act as arbirary censors 
of other people's mail or speech, who invoke their rights as private 
individuals to regulate the services they provide for any reason 
whatsoever, while they hold their government to a higher standard 
of conduct, and even seek the protection of their government to 
act like petty dictators. 

> --
> http://yakko.cs.wmich.edu/~frogfarm ...for the best in unapproved information
>       Hey, Bill Clinton: You suck, and those boys died! I hope you die!
>  I feel a groove comin' on             $              Freedom...yeah, right.

F Lengyel	[email protected]	http://www.dorsai.org/~flengyel