Does the First Amendment forbid spam filtering?

I asked fellow blogger (and email expert) John Levine the following: "The Supreme Court overturned the Jaynes conviction on First Amendment grounds, yes? I'm wondering what that could mean from the spam filtering perspective." Find his very detailed answer here.

Is it OK to block political speech?

I've been talking to folks a lot these past couple of days about the potential legalities around blocking unwanted spam from non-profit, political or advocacy senders. From what I understand, this is pretty likely to be legal. The first amendment limits government action as it relates to restricting speech. But the first amendment doesn't apply to private parties; there is no constitutional "right" that private party number one must accept a message from private party number two. That seems cut and dry. CAN-SPAM certainly doesn't touch on it; it doesn't say a spam filterer can't block certain kinds of messages.

First Amendment Restrictions on DNSBLs

Yesterday on Twitter, somebody asked about how DNSBLs are restricted by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Apparently there's some advocacy group somewhere who is upset that they're listed on a blacklist, and they seem to be investigating potential opportunities for legal recourse.

How to avoid getting swindled on your email lists

Yeah, you could do everything Sallie Severns recommends, or you could do this instead: Don't buy lists. There's a simple reason why: Buying lists and getting solid inbox delivery are entirely incompatible. Period. End of story.

(And a tip of the hat to John Caldwell, Chad White, and Scott Cohen. I wouldn't have seen this article if they hadn't taken a moment to point and laugh at it.)

Update: Check out the comments-- the author holds up Datran Media and Hydra Media as examples of whom to work with.

Update #2: History has been revised: The post has been taken down. Apparently, we were never at war with Eurasia. My bad.

The view from a blacklist operator

Steve Atkins from Word to the Wise explains why it's so important to make sure you're querying a blacklist correctly. Get it wrong, you end up blocking no spam at all, or worse, you end up blocking all of your inbound mail accidentally.

Spam filter authors -- it's time for your software to start rejecting DNSBLs that don't have a properly formatted test record, confirming that they're alive and that the filter in question is properly configured.

Spamhaus Case: e360 Award Slashed to $27k

Venkat Balasubramani has the story over on Circle ID. Once upon a time, e360 was able to convince a judge that $11 million was accurately reflective of their actual losses. Spamhaus challenged, and David Lindhardt apparently wasn't up to that challenge, being slow to respond to discovery requests, providing wildly varying figured, etc. At the end of the day, the judge gave up and called e360's figures "unreliable." They claimed  many millions in damages, yet the company only seemed to take in $332,000. The pie was apparently a bit smaller than claimed, and when the judge sliced that pie, it sounds like he decided that e360 only deserved a twenty seven thousand dollar slice.

As Venkat puts it, $27,002 final judgment "doesn't sound like a particularly good outcome for the plaintiff." D'oh.