Our View: Take the 'ring-ring' out of campaigning
A lawmaker from Wisconsin is dialing up a welcome bit of trouble for "robocalls," those annoying, prerecorded political messages beamed by computers to unsuspecting residential telephones. With legislation drafted and poised for introduction in J...
A lawmaker from Wisconsin is dialing up a welcome bit of trouble for "robocalls," those annoying, prerecorded political messages beamed by computers to unsuspecting residential telephones. With legislation drafted and poised for introduction in January, Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, hopes to tone down robocalls the same way do-notcall lists helped to bring sweet relief from unwanted telemarketing calls.
Modeled after an Indiana law, Black's bill would prohibit using an "automatic dialing-announcing device" unless the person who's eceiving the call has given permission, either in writing or erbally, to accept recorded calls. Indiana's law xempts calls from schools to students or parents, from businesses to heir regular customers, or from employers to employees, advising them of work schedules or other information.
Robocalls are inexpensive to make and easy to use, so easy the technology became especially irritating this election season when some campaigns "repeatedly [called] voters, sometimes as [often] as 20 times a day, making it appear as if the call was coming from [an opposing] candidate," Black said in a statement. "The technique so annoyed voters who were misled as to which campaign was making the call that it may have changed the result of several Congressional elections."
That's debatable. However, "the widespread use of this new technology [crossing] the line from campaigning to harassment," as Black contends, may not be.
If Black's bill proves effective, lawmakers in Minnesota and elsewhere also ought to give it serious consideration. After all, the 2008 presidential campaign is nearer than you may think.