The news earlier this week that Israeli police have widened their operation requiring Internet Service Providers to ban specified online gambling sites (see previous InfoPowa reports) has developed further, with reports from the newspaper Haaretz that two more ISPs have been served with police directives.
The directives do not appear thus far to have been challenged in the courts by either ISPs or operators. Some reports indicate that 012Smile, whilst obeying the police order, intends to take the issue to court.
The latest directives have been served on Bezeq International and 013 Netvision, which joins 012Smile on the list of ISPs served with the orders. Netvision has already announced that it will comply with the blocking order.
Last month Israeli police, backed by tax and prosecutor officials, visited every Israeli Internet provider and directed them to block the sites that appear on a police blacklist. Several of the Internet providers asked for more time to consider the issue.
Haaretz reports that opposition and anger regarding the police action is mounting among ISPs, who believe the directives run contrary to the practice in other Western countries.
One ISP legal representative told the newspaper: "From the legal research that we have conducted, the police are relying on a section of the penal code from which it is very clear that the legislature's intent pertained to physical gambling locations.
"Even if someone interprets the law to apply to virtual gambling locations, the law provides for shutting the place down, but not barring access to it."
Similar attempts to censor the Internet are currently building momentum in other Western countries such as Australia, France and Norway.
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