White House Spamming

The blogosphere has been full of articles about the Whitehouse spamming people recently. I belive we tried it in the UK a while back but they didn’t do their home work and spent loads of cash on a poor solution where the emails were actually sent from US servers! – Dime bar anyone?

Anyway, people in the US have been complaining that the Whitehouse emailed them when they had not opted in.
Two articles that seem to cover it quite well are:
White House Email Acquisition Controversy, by Chris Wheeler on August 14, 2009 for BrontoBlog
White House sending spam?, by Laura 14 Aug 2009 for Word to the Wise.

It’s a tight one as while you do need permission to email people to avoid being a spammer there is also some arguments that some content from the government are required, whether it is email or paper. Where do you draw the line?

At what point does information from your government, how every it is delivered, move from marketing (propaganda) to transactional (info that everyone must have).

In the UK:
Should they create email addresses for everyone registered to vote in the UK using maybe their National Insurance Number and communicate that way?
If I could vote digitally that would make my lifer easier but I’m pretty tekki, it would be a great risk to expect that many people to be able to do it and keep it secure.
I expect with all of the forgotten passwords it’ll cost too much to run as you’ll need people to work it. Maybe in 50 years time!

Of course you also have thing that the government want to do but need the support of parliament and the people to do it, so would their direct communication directly to us count as propaganda or keeping us informed?

You don’t have to watch the news if you don’t want to, you don’t have to buy a news paper, you don’t have to search for it on the internet so you shouldn’t have to have emailed to you whether you want it or not?

Hhmmm it’s a thinker!