The state Senate yesterday passed and sent to the House a measure that would ban the use of a computerized phone-dialing machine now used by salesmen around the country to make thousands of prerecorded calls to homes as part of their sales pitches.
The automated system can be programmed to run through, in numerical order, all the phone numbers on any given exchange - before it goes on to the next exchange. Unlisted numbers are no protection against its relentless onslaught.
"You could be swamped with 10,20 or even 30 recorded commercial calls in a day," Del. Marilyn Goldwater (D-Montgomery) argued before the House committee last week. "You could lose control of your own telephone in your own home."
Opponents of the various abolition measures, however, argue that a Maryland ban would afford little protection to Maryland phone owners, since the owners of the automated dialing systems could set up shop somewhere across state line and bombard them with just as many calls as before.
In other action yesterday, the head of Maryland's Criminal Injuries Compensation Board urged members of the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee to approve legislation requiring convicted criminals to pay into a state-run escrow account any money they make from publicizing their crimes.
This account then could be used to pay any damages awarded to the victim of the crime, explained Martin I. Moylan, the executive director of the board. The criminal, however, should not be forced to forfeit all the proceeds he may earn by writing books or magazine articles about his misdeeds. Moylan warned. Otherwise, the criminal would have no incentive to make the money, he said.