Slovenian government is trying to censor the Internet

August 27th 2008 - Fractured

Most forms of gambling is illegal in Slovenia with a few highly regulated exceptions that are given concession from the government. Most notable are Loterija Slovenije (Slovenian Lottery) and Športna Loterija Slovenije (Slovenian Sport Lottery) in addition to real-world casinos and gambling places.

With growing popularity of online gambling these organizations as well as government are facing a problem with how to deal with insanely popular betting sites like Bwin, Expekt.com, bet-at-home.com. Government already tried to order ISP’s to block access to these webpages in 2006, but it turned out that they didn’t have legal ground for it so it failed.

That is why they decided to fix the law that would, among other things, require ISP’s to prevent access to web pages that would offer gambling related services. Failing to comply would result in fines from 7.500 EUR to 52.500 EUR and 1.500 to 10.000 for the person in charge. Parliament already approved the law on 18th of December 2008, but it got vetoed at the next stage in the process so they will have to vote on it again.

There are many troubling aspects of these recent developments:

  • From legal aspect it introduces censorship at the price of freedom of speech because part of the government decided that they need it. Who will be next to demand blocking of unwanted content?
  • From technical aspect it’s really hard if not impossible to block web pages. The only real approach would be using Deep Packet Inspection technique, that requires ISP to analyze each internet package violating privacy of the communication in the process.

It’s now up to the citizens and experts in the field to carefully analyze answers and proposed government changes to the law to make sure that it does not pass in its current form.

If you can read Slovenian, there are three excellent articles on this topic that you have to read:

Original version of this article appeared on Netokracija

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