A member of the
Netherlands House of Representatives has proposed an amendment to the country’s
gambling legislation which would strip regulatory authority
Kansspelautoriteit’s (KSA) powers to block illegal gambling websites.
The amendment has been
put forward by Democrats 66 Member of Parliament Judith Swinkels and backed by
her fellow party MP Kees Verhoeven. It seeks to prevent the KSA from
carrying out Domain Name System (DNS) and Internet Protocol (IP) blocking on the
basis that such interference will undermine consumers' confidence in the
While the pair
acknowledge that the use of illegal websites must be restricted as much as
possible, they see more risks than advantages in using such measures.
Consumers will still
be able to access illegal websites in a variety of ways, they say, and by
blocking sites the government would be interfering with “the proper technical
functioning of the internet.”
“This will undermine
the trust of internet users, with potentially major consequences for the
economy, society and the freedom of people,” the proposal explains. “An
essential precondition for the proper functioning of the internet is the absence
of government interference.
“The internet has a
ubiquitous presence in day-to-day life. People use the internet to communicate
with friends and family, to look for information, to bank, to book holidays, to
work, and to relax. The internet is also strongly interwoven with the operation
of almost all businesses.”
The pair quote the
Scientific Council for Government Policy to back up their claims, noting that
it has warned that interfering with central protocols will ultimately stop the
internet functioning reliably.
“In the first place in
a technical sense, but also in an economical and socio-cultural sense,” the
Council explains. “If we can no longer trust in the integrity, availability and
reliability of the internet, this will have consequences for the way we wish
to, and can, work with it.
“And that will have
consequences for the social-economic structure which we have constructed on
that infrastructure: from online banking to communication.”
As a result the
Council backs the MPs’ call for the central protocols of the internet to be
safeguarded from government interference.