The Commission is considering a ban on use of automatic dialing and recorded message playing devices for commercial solicitations over public telephone networks. This issue raises a clear conflict between communications senders' rights of free speech and receivers' rights to privacy. Enabling telephone subscribers to indicate if they do not want to receive commercial advertising seems preferable to an outright ban. Telephone directories could include a special symbol, such as an asterisk, next to names of subscribers who don't want to receive sales calls. This would remove an increasingly annoying and intrusive aspect of telephone use. It would provide advertisers an easy way to recognize those who are unlikely to buy products or services sold over the telephone. By giving consumers a choice, it would protect the privacy of those who do not want commercial sales calls without preventing others from receiving them.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.