We’re discussing a junk mail case from the 1970s in my information privacy law case. In Rowan, Justice Burger laments:
…the plethora of mass mailings subsidized by low postal rates, and the growth of the sale of large mailing lists as an industry, in itself, have changed the mailman from a carrier of primarily private communications, as he was in a more leisurely day, and have made him an adjunct of the mass mailer who sends unsolicited and often unwanted mail into every home. It places no strain on the doctrine of judicial notice to observe that, whether measured by pieces or pounds, Everyman’s mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek from persons he does not know. And, all too often, it is matter he finds offensive.
And things have only gotten worse since 1970. Here are the most recent statistics from the Postal Service on junk mail (here, roughly defined as “standard mail”). Starting in 2005, the Postal Service started carrying more standard mail than first class, and now the gulf between the two is pretty significant. Also, note that the standard mail is much heavier than first class mail, and it generates LESS revenue!
San Francisco recently passed a resolution calling for a do-not-junk-mail list. I’ll be signing up.