Minnesota ISPs ignore interent censorship call

According to reports in journals and information sites such as dslreports.com, Minnesota's Department of Public Safety may have bitten off rather more than it can chew in ordering 11 ISPs in the state to block an inaccurate and badly researched list of 200 online gambling websites from subscribers resident in the American state.

When enforcement director John Willems issued the order last (April) month, the Internet freedom group Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) immediately communicated with the ISPs advising them that Willems had neither the jurisdiction nor the legal right to make such a demand, and recommended that it be ignored.

And that's what all eleven companies have apparently done, rendering the questionable initiative toothless at present.

DSLreports notes: "Unfortunately for Mr. Willems, he apparently didn't have a very solid grasp of either technology or law. Not only would Minnesota consumers quickly find a way around the filters, but Willems is trying to force carriers to adhere to "common carrier" regulations that don't apply to modern broadband ISPs (or the offshore gambling outfits). Of the eleven ISPs who were sent letters by Willems demanding they start filtering gambling websites not one of them has responded, which tells you how seriously they're taking the request."

Other publications have pointed out that Willems' list includes websites that do not even accept US gamblers, and have criticised its lack of even basic knowledge and research on the sites it is trying to censor.

iMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan told PocketFives.com that each of the ISPs the organisation has spoken to believes the State of Minnesota lacks jurisdiction under the Wire Act of 1961. At the same time, the Attorney General’s office has recognised the pushback from the industry. Brennan revealed: “Our legal team has had conversations with the Attorney General’s office in Minnesota. They have agreed that they will not force the issue.”

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