Are Adware/Spyware and Spam Free Speech
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Thread: Are Adware/Spyware and Spam Free Speech

  1. #1
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    Question Are Adware/Spyware and Spam Free Speech

    Proponents of such types of adware, spyware software and email say that they are simply exercising their right to free speech. They claim that under the first amendment they have the right to express their opinion and views in any manner available including, and especially the Internet because the Internet is, and always has been a bastion of free enterprise and self expression. My question to you all is:

    1. Does Adware, Spyware and Spam fall under first amendment free speech protection?
    The Darke One !!

  2. #2
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    The question really should be is any ad free speech. CBS rejects Anti-Bush Super Bowl Ads is a good example. Interesting they don't claim free speech as a defense. In a sense they are free speech but they are paying -- usually in the sense of purchasing email lists -- to send out their messages.

    I think if someone took it to court, the court might say you can say whatever you want but you cannot force it down someone else's throat (via spam). At least that'd be my take on it.
    Goodbye, Mittens (1992-2008). My pillow will be cold without your purring beside my head
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    If I am driving down the road and see a billboard, or I'm watching TV and an advertisement comes on, we commonly accept those as adware. And I guess the ads and popups on websites fall into the same category. They are up front and we can see them and choose to or not to partake. I have real problem with the spyware aspect. Information about you and your personal surfing habits etc., is obtainable, not in an upfront manner either. Is that advertisement for the sponsors or intrusion into your personal life. That is not covered under Freedom of Speech. Actually I believe it is an unlawful search.

  4. #4
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Actually I beliee it is an unlawful search.
    That would suggest that the spyware is from the police. I believe you mean unlawful entry (entering a location without permission of the owner). Now that might have a chance in court when you think about it. However, one spyware company I know of got crafty and says in their privacy policy that by viewing their ad you are agreeing to them to install their software. That I have issue with.

    This concept of agree to the AUP without being able to read it before using the software makes no sense. This concept has appeared before with software AUPs that were inside the package and basically said that by opening the package you agree to the terms of the software. But in order to get to the AUP, you have to open the package.

    To me the law isn't clear on dealing with this. I, as a consumer, am agreeing to stuff before I've had an opportunity to read it? That's not logical (but apparently it's legal).
    Goodbye, Mittens (1992-2008). My pillow will be cold without your purring beside my head
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    Yep, unlawful entry is more appropriate. That's Scary stuff (best keep your Spybot- S & D and Lavasoft up to date) .

    In order to agree you have to open the package, but if you open the darn thing, you agree! Interesting, amazing what we call legal now days. Seems like it's all for the dollar.

    Thanks,

    Relyt

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    The reason I asked this question in this particular forum is because I am a senior admin and owner of an ISP. Having dealt with the costly problems these types of programs and advertising efforts cause, I have a first hand knowledge of the amount of money it costs me and my subscribers each month to deal with them. From a networking aspect Adware/spyware is without a doubt the most insidious and costly security problem I have overall. I guess I should be happy that I have to charge my customers for my and my techs time to remove the garbage from their systems but I am not..I feel sorry for the uneducated users who are forced to pay for something they never asked for. And Spam is of course a very costly threat due to the incredible amount of time I have to deal with customers complaint that I am sending it to them because it lands on my mail server..no matter who actually sent it..I spend at least eight hours a week trying to filter it out...It is costly to every IT group and it is a blight on the Internet in general. I do not believe that FREE SPEECH covers any statement or declaration that directly affects the financial situation of another person. It is kinda like the supreme court ruling that declared the right to free speech does not apply to someone who goes into a crowded theatre and yells fire...these guys are yelling fire...
    The Darke One !!

  7. #7
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    This is what Amendment I of the bill of rights says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Unfortunately, our founding fathers were not clairvoyant. For instance, when they granted the right to bear arms, they could not foresee automatic weapons.

    The First Amendment was created to protect individuals from oppression by the government. Unfortunately, telemarketers and purveyors of spam seem to think that government regulation is a form of oppression.

    Oppression is defined as follows:
    1. [n] the act of subjugating by cruelty
    2. [n] a feeling of being oppressed
    3. [n] kept down by unjust use of force or authority

    Somehow, I don’t think any of that fits. As a consumer, if I cared to be equally absurd, I would claim “theft of services”. Although usually referenced with obtaining cable services illegally, I think it could be applicable. I pay for my bandwidth to use how I see fit. I can’t think at any time that I authorized anybody to track my surfing habits, or to sell that information. This example is shaky, I admit, but so is the free speech argument.

    In the United States, as do many other countries, we have ordinances based on natural law, i.e. murder, rape, robbery. We also have laws banning behavior that otherwise would not be criminal, but society as a whole determined to be wrong. Statutory rape is an example. Generally, sex with a minor is considered illegal (in “civilized” countries). In other countries, sex with minors and even marriage is culturally acceptable. (Iran comes to mind). The legal term is Mala Prohibita, and it describes acts that have been deemed unlawful by the state, or government.

    So that brings us back to the original question. Does Adware, Spyware and Spam fall under first amendment free speech protection?

    IMHO, I would have to say no, and their argument doesn’t hold water. At best, it is a stall tactic, allowing advertisers and such to continue business as usual. Next, they will be arguing that the government has no right to regulate business. Basically, the name of the game is to exhaust every possible legal argument, all the while continuing with business as usual. When all avenues have been pursued, the companies in question will move off-shore.

    But that's just my opinion

  8. #8
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Hi,

    /rant on

    I am not an American (you lucky, lucky people) I was born too late However the one I like best is the second amendment, when used "appropriately"

    If I am in a bar, out on the street, watching TV, listening to the radio or whatever I am either in a public place or CONSUMING A PUBLIC SERVICE (albeit in my own home), I expect to be "advertised to".

    If I open my e-mail or just switch on my PC, I am in A PRIVATE PLACE......that is the difference IMHO.............not what the advertisers are saying, but more how they are putting it across?

    If you broke into my house in the early hours of the morning to harangue me about your views on the Bush Administration or California Sales Tax, that is when I would be very tempted to exercise my rights under the second amendment?

    The point that I am trying to make is that one has the right to privacy, and to "quietly enjoy" (English leagle eagle speak) your private residence. The vendors of goods and services also have a right to a livelihood? You can advertise 120Gb/7200Rpm HDDS @ $10 each to me as much as you like (Even at 03.00Hrs, in my own home.........although some of my neighbours would shoot you) and I shall not complain

    Perhaps we are all a little selfish/hypocritical here? Hell, my wife really loved that 3GHz processor I bought her for Christmas..........unfortunately the blue velvet ball gown she bought for me did not fit

    My conclusion is that when I use my PC to go on the internet, that is a "private thing" and should be sacrosanct. If I go to a website with adverts, that is my choice? My mail is private unless I have checked the box which says "tell me all"..........and I frequently do, and have not been disappointed.

    I would say that to try to use Democracy and freedom of speech as an excuse for spam or worse is pretty lame?

    /rant end.......go to /rant on

    Cheers folks
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

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    Gray Haired Old Fart aeallison's Avatar
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    nihil, I do see your point. I also see that you are at least, a little bit, familiar with the workings of your computer and of the internet, e-mail, etc...

    What DarkeMaster is trying to get across is that a lot of his users are very computer illiterate, they, by not understanding the workings of all of this that we DO understand, are taking up precious time to educate, or I assume in many cases, clean his users computers and mailboxes, of unwanted junk that he is being blamed for allowing to manifest on their computers. I see his point all too well as I manage an ISP myself and know all too well what he is going through.

    For clarity, DarkeMaster and I have become friends outside of AO due to our similar carreers. We have discussed this topic before over Instant Messaging.

    There ought to be some sort of way to stop this legally, without having to spend hours trying to educate the masses on how to stop it at their level. I believe that by using the laws that our forefathers wrote to our advantage is a good thing.

    Just my 2 cents...
    I have a question; are you the bug, or the windshield?

  10. #10
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Hi aeallison,

    Please do not get me wrong (good spot, my post was capable of misinterpretation.......UK v's US English I suppose ) I have edited it so please re-check thanks.

    You should not get adverts anywhere than that at a public place or if you go where it is...............that is all I am saying, and I think that you agree?

    At home, at work, or just "murdering a few aliens on the box" is NOT the place?

    Hence my reference to the second amendment.........I would just shoot the buggers

    Cheers
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

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