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Re: Court challenge to AOL junk-mail blocks

> > 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
> enterprise.

Perhaps that analogy held when the Internet was supported with money taken
at gunpoint from all us tax serfs. No more - you wanna play, you gotta pay.
Which is as it should be.


 >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
> easily 
> removed, a corporation's business can suffer if it doesn't provide
> services.

If their business suffers because of a decision, they may reconsider that
decision. If they don't, they'll either survive, or they won't, depending
on if their customers will stand for it. I fail to see why charging money
for the services one provides suddenly transforms a person into a slave,
forced to provide service even if they do not wish to do so. Do you feel
that providing a service for free is more "noble", somehow, and therefore
more "worthy" of protection?

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

Who is going to "fire" a company that provides a service? The gubmint is
your only alternative; the gun of the law, your only tool.

If you don't like your ISP, get a different one. Spammers do it all the
time. People are whining all over the place about "exercising arbitrary
rights", as if it were eeeeevil when companies do it. Get a grip. It's
called DISCRIMINATION, and it's not a bad word; it's just been corrupted
beyond belief by the PC mindset. When I discriminate, I am exercising my
taste, my judgment, in deciding who I wish to associate with; who I wish
to give my money to in exchange for services; who I trust, and who I do
not. If a company kicks a spammer off their system, what recourse do you
want them to have, other than their right to "vote with their feet" and
find a different provider? It seems you would find it favorable for them
to go whining to the gubmint: "Waaah! He kicked us out of his treehouse!
You go beat 'em up and make 'em take us back!"

If they can seize John Adams' yacht, they can seize your beat-up old car.
If they can force XYZ Corp to provide access, they can force anyone to
do anything, and there is no grounds for complaint. After all, universal
access must be provided! A chicken in every pot, and a router in every
garage! Right?

> >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.

Because only the gummint can "censor". Whatever anyone else does is NOT
censorship, unless you want to redefine words to suit your pleasure. It
is exercising judgment and taste. Whether you find that judgment acceptable
or not is not an excuse to impose your judgment on others at gunpoint.

> 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. 

Pot. Kettle. Black.

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