/ March 31, 2009

Supreme Court Passes on Chance to Consider VA Anti-Spam Law

The Supreme Court, without comment, rejected a chance to examine how far states can go to restrict unsolicited e-mails in efforts to block spammers from bombarding computer users.

The High Court has passed up a chance to examine Virginia’s appeal to keep its Computer Crimes Act in place. The Act was one of the toughest laws of its kind in the nation. It banned both noncommercial and commerical spam e-mail to consumers in Virginia.
The justices’ refusal to intervene also means that the conviction of the notorious commercial spammer Jeremy Jaynes will not be reinstated.
Jaynes‘ 2004 felony conviction was the first in the United States for sending bulk unsolicited electronic messages. He used several computers to send 24,000 spam e-mails in one day to America Online subscribers. According to court records, he used false header information and sender domain names. A search of his home in Raleigh, North Carolina yielded CDs with more than 176 million e-mail addresses and 1.3 billion e-mail user names, some of the stolen by a former AOL employee.
Jaynes was sentenced to nine years in prison, but the state high court eventually reversed the conviction. The state justices said the law was overbroad because some bulk e-mails might contain political, religious or other speech that has traditionally been given higher First Amendment protection that typical “commercial speech.”
Despite the ruling, Jaynes remains behind bars for an unrelated federal securities fraud conviction.
Source: CNN

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