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Notorious spammer claims net neutrality applies to spam

Jason Flanary (R), chief operating officer at ccAdvertising -- a company specializing in political text message spam – turned heads during the last presidential election by sending unsolicited messages to smartphones with statements like, "Obama believes killing children is a right until the umbilical cord is cut."

While Mr. Flanary was disappointed to lose his own election bid for the Virginia state senate [source] amid the controversy that ensued, he's now pushing ahead on an even more ambitious effort.  He's asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to either whitelist political spam (or "political messages" as he views it) or to declare spam in general protected free speech.

Either way, he argues, it should be illegal for private businesses to block or discriminate against using filters traffic they consider "spam".

In the wake of the ccAdvertising text campaign many carriers began to block his company's messages, recognizing that their customers did not want the unsolicited and often times unwelcome texts.  But in doing so Mr. Flanary claims they broke the law.

Jason Flanary
Jason Flanary is among the Republicans breaking with part ranks to voice support for net neutrality, arguing it should be expanded to protect political spam.
[Image Source: FairFax Patch]

His stand is unusual as in the past most federal Republicans contended that net neutrality was an abusive expansion of federal power and intrusion on free market.  Now it appears that at least some Republicans may be changing their mind, looking to leverage the FCC policy to their advantage.

If you want to respond to Mr. Flanary's claim that political text message spam is protected free speech, the FCC welcomes public comments here.  Be aware, you must give your real name and address.

Sources: FCC [filing], [comments], DailyKos



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RE: But technically, isn't he right?
By JediJeb on 12/12/2012 3:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
I have AT&T and do not have a messaging plan but I have not seen any option to have AT&T block only certain senders from sending me a message, so wouldn't they need to do a blanket block of this person's messages to keep me from having to pay to receive a message from him?

I would rather see it that those who want to receive these spam messages have to sign up for them, than to have those who don't want them to have to sign up for them to be blocked. Would be fewer wanting to receive than wanting to block I would think.


By Solandri on 12/12/2012 3:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I would be fine with it either way, and would prefer blocking enabled unless I turn it off. Especially since many people still get charged per text, and if they don't know they have the option to block, the carriers effectively get to collect free money from the ignorant.

But while it would be the easiest and most logical way of dealing with the problem, lots of activists and lawyers would get upset if you do it that way. And they're nastier to deal with than spam. So whichever way works.

As for AT&T in particular and blocking a single person's messages, here's the second link Google spit out:
http://forums.att.com/t5/Data-Messaging-Features-I...

(relevant post and link is near the bottom)


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