Gambling sites blocked in Israel

Arbitrary directions by police to ISPs viewed as a possible precursor to Internet censorship

Attempts to stifle online gambling in Israel through police raids, credit card blocks and more recently police instructions to Internet Service Providers to ban specific websites (see previous InfoPowa reports) are generating a growing concern that interference with the Internet could escalate into other sectors.

So far, ingenious operators and gamblers have managed to circumvent attempted blocks on financial transactions by using prepaid cards or payment codes which can be bought with cash from kiosks and other outlets, and 'encashed' on Internet websites.

The reports that Gustavo Mesch, a Haifa University academic who researches sociology and the use of the internet, predicts that the issue could become a drawn-out high-profile battle, and escalate as far as the Knesset [Parliament].

"There is a basic fear - if it starts with blocking gambling sites, where will it stop?" he said

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