Inca o poveste interesanta pentru azi, relatata de Andrea Glorioso din Italia care ne descrie intreaga istorie a blocarii siturilor de pariuri online pentru utilizatorii din Italia - dovada ca se poate si mai rau ca la noi si ca legea e interpretata foarte diferit de la stat la stat chiar si in UE.
Ma gindesc totusi cit de ridicole pot sa fie toata autoritatile care incearca sa blocheze un anumit tip de site-uri in Internet. Este clar ca ele nu au nici cel mai mic habar de cum merge Internetul si cit de usor pot fi driblate asemenea masuri.
Asta imi aduce aminte de o fraza citita recent intr-un articol scris de Thomas Friedman :
Vedeti, bunica-mea are o vorba care zice asa: „Niciodata sa nu cedezi un secol unei tari care cenzureaza Google“. E o chestie acolo, in ceea ce spune: ea n-a crezut niciodata ca viitorul poate apartine unei tari care limiteaza accesul propriului popor la cunoastere. A cenzura Google inseamna o proasta guvernare, una brutala, care cenzureaza si franeaza inovatia.
Betting websites are blocked in Italy
Following a fierce battle between an authority of the Italian State and private european online betting companies over their activity in Italy, a big number of betting websites are officialy blocked for Italian Internet users.
Everything began with the 2006 financial law (Law 266/2005) voted by the Parliament under the outgoing Berlusconi government. The law included four provisions - namely paragraph 535-58 of art.1 - which gave the Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS or Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies, a part of the Ministry of Economy and Finances) the power to bring to the attention of: (a) providers of Internet services, or (b) providers of other data or telecommunication networks, or (c) entities that offer networks or telecommunication services in relationship to (a) or (b), all those instances in which someone offers games or bets where money can be lost or won without having the proper authorization that is usually granted by AAMS itself.
Upon receiving such communication from the AAMS, the subjects from (a) to (c) have the legal obligation to inhibit usage of the networks that they manage or for which they provide betting and gaming services "by adopting appropriate technical measures to this end".
The AAMS proceeded on 13 February 2006 to compile and publish a first list of websites that should not be accessed from Italian networks. Compliant ISPs generally implemented the restriction by "hijacking" DNS communication and redirecting it to the DNS server of the AAMS. The end result is that users trying to access such websites are instead getting a notice saying that "pursuant to the decree of the AAMS of 7 February 2006 the requested website is not accessible because it does not have the necessary authorizations for collecting bets in Italy".
Of course, reactions flocked in by all sides. Several betting companies, including UK-based William Hill (which is included on the list of blocked websites) announced they would recur to the European Court of Justice for what they claim is blatant violation of the basic principles of the European internal market.
The Remote Gambling Association immediately started to negotiate a compromise with the Italian government, but until now no agreement seems to have been reached.
Moreover, several Italian commentators noticed how poor the employed system is from a technical point of view. It is in fact sufficient in most cases to remove the leading "www" prefix to access the blocked websites. Other strategies, including the usage of web proxies, are also possible.
The Italian chapter of ISOC (Internet Society) took a firm technical position, considering that the proposed measures were ineffective and in any case were far away from the "best practices" in the sector - while at the same time noticing that the outcries of "censorship" seemed misplaced because of the subject matter under discussion.
While ISOC explicitly chose to avoid the "censorship" argument, other commentators argued that by blocking entire websites the proposed solution ment in fact severely limiting the right of all Italian citizens to access information, as granted by the Italian Constitution and several international instruments. If the goal was to impede the act of gambling then any measure should have been proportionate to this specific goal. Impeding Italian citizens to access a website and the information contained therein arguably is not.
One company, Malta-based Astrabet Bookmaker Ltd., went further and requested the Second Section of the Civil Tribunal of Rome to declare the measure illegitimate, insofar as it cut off Astrabet's website from the Italian network.
On 10 April 2006 Judge Lorenzo Pontecorvo issued a writ by which it ordered AAMS to immediately remove Astrabet from the "blacklist". In his reasoning, Judge Pontecorvo touched on a number of interesting and potential far-reaching issues, including how AAMS' right to grant licenses only applies to the Italian territory, while Astrabet is established in and operates from Malta and that the contract between users and Astrabet, according to the facts and the law, is performed in Malta. He also pointed out that according to the European jurisprudence, blocking or limiting the activities of Astrabet constitutes a violation of the "freedom to provide services" principle as enshrined in the EU Treaty and that the claims by AAMS and others, according to which Astrabet was guilty of "unfair competition" by "diverting customers" to its website, is completely unfounded, since Astrabet is simply providing services through the Net, "a reality which cannot be ignored anymore".
AAMS counter-attacked by appealing the decision and refusing - for technical reasons - to remove Astrabet from the blacklist. In an official press release of 12 May 2006, AAMS wrote that the Astrabet issue is "an isolated case" and that the Maltese company had "engaged in non-ritual activities with the sole goal to obtain undeserved privileges and behaviours which would be discriminatory towards other subjects that are legally operating in Italy".
Although technically avoidable, the blacklist is apparently still applied by Italian ISPs.
Italian Financial Law 266/2005 (in Italian only, 23.12.2005)
AAMS list of websites to be blocked from 13 February 2006 (7.02.2006)
ISOC Italia position regarding the filtering of websites that offer online gambling (in Italian only, 15.03.2006)
Civil Tribunal of Rome, Second Section, Ordinance (in Italian only, 10.04.2006)
Clarifications of AAMS on the AstraBet case (in Italian only, 12.05.2006)
(Contribution by Andrea Glorioso, consultant on digital policies - Italy)