Minnesota to force ISPs to blacklist online gambling

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A 7-page blacklist of gambling websites has been posted on the internet as the State of Minnesota has handed letters to eleven internet providers and the Federal Communications Commission as online gambling remains illegal in the state.

200 websites listed to the providers – which include AT&T, Verizon, Sprint/Nextel and Qwest Communications, along with Dish Network and DirecTV – are set to be blocked, and is set to expand if the process remains successful in attempting to block such content to Minnesota residents. Also mentioned was that they will be forced to not only block access to the websites, but also to their contact details.

However, while US federal law states that a “common carrier” is subjected to “discontinue or refuse, the leasing, furnishing, or maintaining of such (communications)” for the “proposes of transmitting or receiving gambling information in interstate or foreign commerce,” the US Supreme Court and the FCC do not consider DSL and Cable providers as “common carriers”.

In a response, the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association has said that many sites do not take action from the United States, and were relatively small – except for a few larger ones in the list.

“To propose censoring Minnesota residents’ Web access and not to know which sites are even in the US market makes me wonder just how seriously the DPS is taking this action. It comes off as a half-baked attempt at intimidation rather than thoughtful enforcement,” said Joe Brennan Jr., Chairman of iMEGA.

However, because it also lists IP addresses, it is not hard for them to find alternative ways to bypass these restrictions, despite being illegal in the state. But also, if the communication companies that have been sent this letter also choose to block the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, it could be very damaging to those sites who are running legitimate businesses but are on the same IP address.

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