More about blocking emails sent to others
Kaufman alleges that, over a period of six months, eight pieces of allegedly legal mail were opened by DOC officials before being delivered to him . . . .
Inmates have a First Amendment right both to send and receive mail, Rowe v. Shake, 196 F.3d 778, 782 (7th Cir. 1999), but that does not preclude prison officials from examining mail to ensure that it does not contain contraband, Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 576 (1974); Rowe, 196 F.3d at 782. An inmate's legal mail, however, is entitled to greater protections because of the potential for interference with his right of access to the courts. Rowe, 196 F.3d at 782 (page 11, emphasis added)
So if even prison inmates have the right to receive mail, how can it be argued that employees do not have the right to receive mail at their places of employment? And the main issue in this part of Kaufman was not even the right to receive mail but the right to receive uninspected mail, and there has to be a compelling reason to inspect prisoners' mail: to ensure that it does not contain contraband.
The right to receive mail should of course apply to email as well as snail-mail. If you rob mail from the postal service, they throw the book at you. It should be the same for robbing email from the Internet.
In another analogy, I pointed out that one cannot ask to not receive "junk" postal mail. One can ask to be listed on a "do not call" registry for unsolicited telemarketing phone messages, but there is no "do not send" or "do not deliver" registry for junk postal mail. One of the reasons for that is that junk postal mail -- like junk email -- has a very low nuisance level in comparison to unwanted phone calls.
BTW, Kaufman also ruled that atheism and probably also agnosticism are "religions" for purposes of the First Amendment -- this ruling has important implications in court cases about evolution education. But that is another story.
Labels: Internet censorship (new #1)