Novel effort in Minnesota seeks ISP gambling block

Apr 29, 2009 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Minnesota officials are trying a novel tactic to block online gambling sites - using a federal law that enables restrictions on phone calls used for wagering.

The state's Department of Public Safety said Wednesday it had asked 11 Internet service providers to block access to 200 online gambling sites.

The state is citing a federal law that requires "common carriers," a term that mainly applies to phone companies, to comply with requests that they block telecommunications services used for gambling.

But Internet service providers are not common carriers, meaning it's unlikely that a court would compel an ISP to comply with Minnesota's request, said John Morris, general counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington.

Morris also noted that the law appears to apply to phone companies directly doing business with bet-takers. But online gambling is already illegal in the U.S., so gambling sites are based overseas and U.S. ISPs have no direct links to them.

"I think this is a very problematic and significant misreading of the statute," Morris said.

In a similar case, Pennsylvania briefly imposed requirements for ISPs to block child-pornography sites. But a federal court struck down the law in 2004 because the filters also blocked legitimate sites and affected Internet subscribers outside the state.

John Willems, director of the Alcohol and Enforcement Division of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety, said that since now provide more than just phone service, the requests "seem to be a reasonable application of the law."

"We'll see how the conversation unfolds from there," he said.

AT&T Inc., which received one of the requests, said it was reviewing it. Comcast Corp. and Qwest Communications International Inc., which also received requests, had no immediate comment.

John Palfrey, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, said the idea of forcing Internet service providers to filter sites almost has been abandoned because it works so poorly. Either too many sites are blocked, or too few - meaning that even if the ISPs were to cooperate, online gamblers might get around the filters by finding sites that aren't on the list.

Willems said Minnesota might expand the list beyond the 200 sites currently on it.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gambling bill moves to full House

May 26, 2006

In a 25-11 vote Thursday the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill banning gambling over state lines and Internet technologies.

Google eradicates pornography its own way

Jun 28, 2006

Google is showing signs of more resistance in complying with regulators even as rival providers are complying more with the federal government's guidelines.

The Web: Silencing jihadi Web sites

Aug 03, 2005

The online communications channel between al-Qaida's shadowy leaders and its terrorist operatives has been severely disrupted in recent weeks -- since the July 7, 2005, jihadi attacks on London -- apparently by British intelligence.

The Web: WTO's gambling deadline missed

Apr 19, 2006

A deadline imposed by The World Trade Organization for the Bush administration to clarify its stance on online gambling passed earlier this month, without a public response from the government, gaming experts are telling ...

Australia says Web blacklist combats child porn

Mar 27, 2009

(AP) -- Australia's communications minister has defended a proposed Internet blacklist as necessary to combat child pornography but admitted that at least one site had been wrongly blocked during trials.

India clamps down on bloggers, cell users

Jul 18, 2006

In a knee-jerk reaction to the recent terror-related blasts in India, the government is stepping up control on the online community that according to the country's telecom regulator, the Department of Telecom (DoT), was running ...

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

legonadir
not rated yet Apr 29, 2009
This is stupid. Personal freedom and responsibility. It's what this country is founded on.

I don't get why it's legal to day trade stocks trading at fictionally high multiples of earnings. But it's not ok to gamble. They're both gambling.
MenaceSan
not rated yet Apr 29, 2009
and almost anyone can figure out how to set up a proxy if they want. That gives gambling sites unlimited ip addresses. Completely unblockable.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.