DNS Censorship of Gambling Websites

by Tykling @ September 30, 2011 22:32

Tuesday september 20th the EU commission approved the Danish bill L202 with no changes, which means a new category of censored sites on the Danish internet providers DNS servers. L202 was unanimously approved in the Danish Folketing in 2009 with 110 votes for and 0 against.

L202 is primarily a liberalization of the Danish gambling market, which means that Danske Spil will no longer be the only providers of legal gambling in Denmark. The DNS censorship part of the law is very small compared to the rest. To understand why a liberalization of the gambling market means more DNS censorship you probably need to be a politician. Regardless, in this post I will try to explain the situation as I see it.

The Lottery Funds is the large (1.6 billion DKK last year) amount that Danske Spil makes after expenses and paying prizes to winners. The money is distributed yearly to various Danish ministries according to the distribution specified in the Danish national budget (finansloven). Each Minister then distributes money to the charities he/she feels appropriate. The politicians have been worried for a while about the Internet bringing new gambling companies that do not pay tax to the Danish market, affecting the size of the Lottery Funds. They are now attempting to solve that problem with the modern political Swiss army knife called DNS censorship. This means that ISPs in the future will be required to block gambling providers that do not pay tax in Denmark.

What we have here is censorship for profit, censorship with only one purpose, which is to ensure the size of the Lottery Funds. This is also an excellent example of the "slippery slope" effect when talking about DNS censorship. Censorship is a serious attack on civil liberties, but politicians are using it to solve smaller and smaller problems. What comes next ? We have seen proposals (SF) to block terror-related websites. We've seen proposals (DF) to outlaw sattelite dishes (not internet censorship, but still). There is clearly a change happening here, the politicians increasingly see DNS censorship as a valid tool to reach their goals.

I've said it before, and I'll be happy to repeat it: No matter what the question is, the answer is never censorship.

By the way: proponents of DNS censorship has always claimed that the blocking of sites containing materials depicting child abuse is NOT censorship, since the ISPs voluntarily participate. In other words, there is no law mandating that blocking, so it cannot be in conflict with the Danish constitions ยง77. That argument is not valid now that the gambling law contains DNS censorship. Do I have a lawyer reading who can explain to me why the Danish gambling law is not in conflict with the Danish constitution?

Tags: censorship gambling websites