Plans to block illegal gambling sites dropped
Last Tuesday, the Dutch parliament accepted an amendment to the Gaming Bill proposed by D66 (the liberal-democratic party). As a result, when the bill passes into law, the Gaming Authority will not have the power to require ISPs to implement DNS filters or internet filters to prevent people in the Netherlands accessing illegal gambling sites. SIDN welcomes the decision. We are committed to making the internet as reliable and secure as possible. And we regard filtering as a threat to the open, global nature of the internet. For background, see our previous publication on this subject.
Just over a year ago, my colleague Marco Davids and I became involved with the issue of filtering through the ISOC Internet Transparency Working Group. Via the group, we were invited to give evidence to parliament in connection with the gaming legislation that was being considered. That led to us actively campaigning to have the bill's DNS and internet filtering provisions removed. Our activities were conducted partly on behalf of DINL, the umbrella group for the digital infrastructure industry, and in partnership with various players in the industry and lobby groups such as Bits of Freedom. We have been impressed by the way that everyone has taken up the cause and we take heart from the success achieved by our broad alliance. Unfortunately, various other items of legislation that we regard as having negative implications for the internet remain in the pipeline. So it is to be hoped that, by continuing to work together, we can be equally successful in heading off the threats that lie ahead.
Use of .nl domain names to be compulsory for legitimate gambling sites?
In the course of the debate regarding the new legislation, it was repeatedly suggested that legitimate gambling providers licensed in the Netherlands should be obliged to offer their services under .nl domain names. The thinking behind the proposal was that gamblers would be able to tell from the extension that a site was trustworthy. The State Secretary ultimately ruled out the idea, partly because SIDN does not monitor how .nl domain names are used. It was argued that the possibility of illegal gambling being offered on a site with a .nl domain name could not therefore be excluded. The reassurance provided by a .nl domain name would consequently be false, the State Secretary concluded.Although it is true that SIDN does not supervise the use of the domain names that are registered with us, we do work hard to ensure that the .nl domain is secure. We believe that, by collaborating with the Gaming Authority, we could minimise the risk of unlicensed gambling sites operating under .nl domain names. We are also currently developing a service that would allow clear and independent verification of a website's association with a particular party (in this case, a gambling licensee). I will therefore be holding further talks with the civil servants who define the licensing criteria. In the meantime, let us celebrate the success of our lobbying work on filtering.