The Supreme Court of Virginia struck down the state’s criminal anti-spam law on September 12, 2008; declaring it to be an unconstitutional abridgment of the right to anonymous speech. The best evaluation of the Commonwealth v. Jaynes opinion appears in Groklaw. There, the commentator explains the Virginia statute by comparing it to the laws of other jurisdictions. It is alleged that Virginia should have punished only commercial spam as for example in Maryland, instead of outlawing all Internet communication that hides a sender’s identity.
Expect revised anti-spam legislation from the next session of the Virginia General Assembly.
UPDATE (April 11, 2009):
On March 30th 2009, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Virginia’s petition for a writ of certiorari in Virginia v. Jaynes. Consequently, the Computer Crimes Act remains stricken from the Virginia Code, based upon the judicial determination that it unconstitutionally abridged freedom of speech under the First Amendment. [My article discussing the Jaynes case will appear in the June-July 2009 issue of the Virginia State Bar Magazine.]