Archive for the ‘Mobile Commons’ Category

Score One for the First Amendment

September 27, 2007

Last night I shirked my responsibility as New York Knights bloggerI was too tired and chessed out from King’s Gambit activities the evening beforeand, instead of going to the Marshall Chess Club, went with my friend Chris for an out-of-borough dining experience.

We set out to find Greek food and ended up in Queens (Astoria, to be specific) at Agnanti, a comfortable, country-style restaurant on a residential stretch of Ditmars Boulevard. The food was all fresh, unpretentious, and expertly seasoned. The menu is long, and we took our server’s recommendations of eggplant dip, meat-stuffed tomatoes, salt-cod cakes, and a salad with feta and huge brown-bread croutons.

But the real fun of the meal was when Chris checked his iPhone and discovered that Mobile Commons, the company he co-founded, had made the New York Times Web site (and, subsequently, the front page of the paper itself) over a first-amendment dispute with Verizon. Mobile Commons provides mass-text-messaging technology to progressive organizations that want to mobilize their memberships. One of these organizations is Naral Pro-Choice America, and Verizon had refused to let Naral bulk-text its members with pro-abortion messages.

Now I’ve had my own share of free-speech problems, and at one time I wanted to be an ACLU lawyer, and so I was delighted and proud that my friend was on the right (left?) side of the issueand on the front page of the Times, no less! It made the salt cod even tastier.

By this morning. Verizon had reversed itself.