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Robocall names is a technology for making telephone calls using computerized autodialers to deliver pre-recorded messages. Associated with political campaigns and telemarketing phone scams, they are also deployed to subject debtors and anyone whose telephone number was used by a debtor to harassment. For example, the Hamburg, Germany based debt collection firm EOS CCA uses robocalls to hammer victims with daily telephone calls demanding that they respond by calling back with information. In effect, this firm uses robotic harassment to extract unpaid labor from complete strangers. Persons with no connection to a debtor are instructed to return a telephone call to indicate that they are not the debtor or to return a telephone call indicating that they are the debtor.

Using robocalls under any circumstance indicates a rather profound contempt for the target. It is an assertion of power through mechanized annoyance. However, using them to extract physical performance from the victim is vicious. Coercing involuntary performance of any act is akin to slavery. The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution outlawed involuntary servitude. That a company located in Germany, a nation with a more recent history of forced labor and mechanized mass murder, should subject U.S. citizens to even a few moments of robotically controlled involuntary servitude is a moral scandal.

National Rifle Association robocalls to residents of Newtown, CT in late March 2013 appear more than callous. They reflect an attempt to deepen the emotional pain of a community that suffered one of the most horrific civilian atrocities in American history. See NRA Robocalls In Newtown Spark Outrage From Local Gun Control Group Christina Wilkie. Huffington Post. March 22, 2013.


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