Dutch MPs aim to take website-blocking powers from gambling regulator

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 internet.

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.


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