Saturday, September 27, 2003
Don't call me: The Boston Globe reported today that the federal judge who found the FTC's do-not-call list to be an abridgement of freedom of speech had his own phone number on the list.
The story notes that anyone can put a number on the list, so it is possible that a censorious aide to the judge might have done it -- or maybe his wife.
Laughs aside, I suspect that this judge will have his order overturned on appeal, on several legal theories.
First, though I think it's bogus, I'm going to use it: "right to privacy." Unwanted phone calls from people selling weed whackers during dinner (or early in the morning while I'm sleeping in) infringes on my right to privacy. Especially after I have publicly stated my desire not to be called by signing up for the list.
Second, the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that commercial speech has less Constitutional protection than political speech.
Third, with the news that people will soon be able to switch their landline numbers to cell phones, produces a situation where an unwanted telephone solicitation will actually cost the consumer money in the form of cell phone airtime used. The courts have similarly ruled on unsolicited faxes being illegal for much the same reason -- the cost of ink and paper to print out the solicitation costs the consumer money.
The do-not-call list will eventually become the law of the land. There is no free speech right to annoy people in their own homes.