In a nutshell, the SEC says that if web sites require a name and personal information in exchange for otherwise free stock, they are actually selling the stock.
IAKAL, but this strikes me as a Good Thing in terms of privacy protection. There is little in US law that protects invasion of privacy by corporations. If the govt says personal information is valuable, I would think it would be easier to protect it, given the materialistic orientation of US law. "
So, essentially you can't "give" the stock away-the SEC says you are selling it-it's just personal information that's the monetary unit. It's an interesting idea-by making your personal information into something with an intrinsic value, you can "creatively" use other portions of the law to defend personal privacy.