Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The pot that called the kettle black?

Attorney General Charlie Crist, a vocal supporter of tough anti-spam laws, is spamming Floridians as part of his campaign for governor.

His campaign is obtaining Floridians’ e-mail addresses and sending them unsolicited messages about his candidacy and asking for donations, the St. Petersburg Times reports. Read the story here.

Crist denies the allegations. “It’s not spam,” said Arlene DiBenigno, his political director. “It’s political speech. We’re not selling anything; we’re not being deceptive.”

One man’s political speech is another man’s spam, apparently. Joe Spooner received Crist’s campaign messages and was so bothered that he tried to opt out of the list. Five times. Finally, he e-mailed the Crist campaign to remind them of their candidate’s stance on junk e-mail.

“The irony and hypocrisy amazes me,” Spooner told the Times he wrote to the campaign. “Do I need to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office?”

Failure to have a working unsubscribe system that lets recipients opt out is a violation of the federal CAN-SPAM Act.

Earlier this month, Crist touted the lawsuit his office filed against an Indian River man accused of sending thousands of spam e-mails hyping a bogus fuel-saver product. “Spam is a pervasive and growing threat to unsuspecting computer users everywhere,” Crist said then.

Update: Other comments on this in the blogosphere include S*pam Kings; The Florida Masochist; Myopic Zeal; Hearsay.com; and Technology & Marketing Law Blog.

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