Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gambling and the Internet, BOOOO Minnesota

So, apparently Minnesota no longer is just in the news because they have no senator. Now, they decided that they want to known for breaking the first amendment. Apparently, they decided that not only was Poker to be banned in the state, but they are banning all online gambling. To enforce this, they have decided to pass a law and give a list of IP addresses to ISPs to be banned. Yep, the state is violating the first amendment.

Okay, so there is this beautiful ban in place, but we know that it is wrong and illegal. Let's actually look at why.

I believe that this is a violation because it limits a valid mean of communication. Sure, gambling where the house takes a percentage is in violation of state law, but enforcing this ban on the internet is a violation of consumer, corporation, and 1st amendment protections. The government has no right to force an ISP to not provide acccsess to one site or another. The ISP has the right to do so if they wish, but they should not have to do it under the law.

Additionally, they are not a common carrier. The only law that applies to this is if they were a common connection, like a telephone company that serviced both. In this case, most of the sites are overseas, so there is no common connection. In fact, the connection runs through a government center where they house the input output connections of the country. Think about that for a second, they have no right to even request this.

Wait, isn't this more then INTRAstate commerce? Well, Minn. Only has rights to police what is done inside of their state, and this is not only intERstate, but intERCOUNTRY as well. Seriously, this violates the commerce clause in so many ways.

Lastly, let's look at one other issue here. What about the schools, churches, daycares, and hospitals that share the same IP address as these sites. I mean, using the Minn logic, if I host a gambling website from my apartment where I get free wifi then everybody else there who hosts a site is shut down. On average, 50 sites share the same IP and most of these are not related. See the problem? The state is shutting down sites that have nothing to do with this.

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