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Home is where the Internet Connection is: Law, Spam and the Protection of Personal Space

Slane, Andrea, "Home is where the Internet Connection is: Law, Spam and the Protection of Personal Space" . University of Ottawa Law & Technology Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 255-290, 2005 Available at SSRN:


    The article examines how images of home internet access have informed two prominent strands in the development of anti-spam law, namely property-based and autonomy rights-based approaches. Through a comparison of legislative and common law attempts to legally articulate and address the wrongs inflicted by unsolicited bulk email in both the United States and Canada, the article traces slow and halting progress away from an exclusively property-based approach to one which considers part of the wrong to be the invasion of the personal autonomy rights of spam recipients. The internet-connected home thereby becomes a visual stand-in for the less materially bound personal space within which an individual can exert a right not to receive unwanted messages. Solutions able to address this right directly are therefore most capable of getting at the underlying popular complaint against spam, while validating a larger cultural trend toward more portable notions of privacy.
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