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Quebec bill would force Internet firms to block access to online gambling sites

Online GamblingOnline Gambling: Quebec bill would force Internet firms to block access to online gambling sites
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MONTREAL — A little-publicized bill that is making its way through Quebec's legislative process has digital-law experts and others worried that the concept of a free and open Internet is being threatened in the province.

Bill 74 includes a provision that seeks to force Internet service providers to block Quebecers' access to online gambling sites that aren't approved by the government.

The province's finance minister says the bill is necessary to protect the health and safety of Quebecers because illegal sites don't apply the same "responsible gaming rules" as sites run by the government and pose a "risk to the population."

Critics say the Internet-censoring legislation — unprecedented in Canada — is a way for Quebec's state-owned gambling authority to block competition and could lead to governments across the country deciding what citizens can and can't view online.

Moreover, law experts say the legislation violates freedom of expression, contradicts federal telecommunications law and willlikely be challenged in court by Internet companies and civil rights groups.

"Net neutrality" is understood to mean that Internet companies should be neutral carriers of content and not favour some sites over others or block access to certain sites. The federal government included the principle in the 1993 Telecommunications Act, which states "Except where the Commission (the CRTC) approves otherwise, a Canadian carrier shall not control the content or influence the meaning or purpose of telecommunications carried by it for the public."

Quebec's government-run gambling authority, Loto-Quebec, has been losing money to online gaming competitors, according to the 2015-16 budget documents.

The government's plan, the document continues, "would increase the dividend that Loto-Quebec pays to the government by $13.5million in 2016-17 and $27 million a year thereafter."

Bill 74 states that "an Internet service provider may not give access to an online gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Quebec law."

Geist said the Quebec government has a host of alternatives to prevent gaming companies from operating in the province, such as going after online payment companies like PayPal and asking them not to process transactions from such sites.

Additionally, the government can ask the gaming companies themselves to limit their offerings in the province, he said, similar to the way American entertainment firms like Hulu or the U.S. version of Netflix block their content from streaming in Canada.

Bram Abramson, chief legal and regulatory officer for TekSavvy Solutions Inc., an Internet provider that services 300,000 homes in Canada, said the law would be "extremely complicated and extremely costly."

Abramson added that if Quebec passes Bill 74, telecom companies such as his would be caught between that legislation and the federal Telecommunications Act.

"We're looking very closely at what can be done and we're doing it actively," he said.

Julius Grey, a Montreal-based constitutional and human rights lawyer, said the bill potentially violates freedom of expression.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled citizens' rights aren't only protected when it comes to expressing ideas, but that people also have the fundamental right to hear and read things, he explained.

"I want this law to be challenged," Grey said. Grey and Geist both said they worry about how the bill could lead to the Quebec government banning access to other online content, such as sites that violate the province's strict language laws or sites that include hate speech.

"I haven't seen anything like this in Canada," Geist said, adding the only content currently blocked is child pornography. "That's a whole other issue because the content itself is different."

Audrey Cloutier, a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Carlos Leitao, said the government has to force Internet providers to block non-authorized gambling sites because it's not realistic to imagine Quebec could persuade foreign companies to voluntarily stop offering their services. She said problem gambling is a health issue which falls under provincial jurisdiction.

"Loto-Quebec and our government have constitutional competence and the responsibility to act to protect citizens by offering regulated, responsible, honest and secure gambling."

Geist said the bill undermines Canadian values.

"We are a free and democratic society," he said. "And I think we don't believe in Chinese-style approaches where government decides what kinds of sites the public is entitled to access."

CP

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13 comments. Last comment 8 months ago by Lotterologist.
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amber123's avatar - OpIFNim

United States
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March 12, 2015
2526 Posts
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Posted: April 13, 2016, 12:16 pm - IP Logged

The Government always gets pissed off when they can't get their hands on any kind of revenue. Extortion is only legal when it's conducted by Big Brother.

    Avatar

    United States
    Member #132100
    August 26, 2012
    1076 Posts
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    Posted: April 13, 2016, 12:24 pm - IP Logged

    Of course, they don't want competition, that is also why here on the United States we are not free to gamble online where-ever we want to, to governments they want to have and keep a monopoly, they want to be the only ones getting money from any gambling done by people.

    The government can't compete with online gambling sites. when online gambling sites pay more and also have better service.

    As to freedoms, well, as time goes by, governments start to take away all kinds of freedoms, little by little and sometimes all at once, that is nothing new.

      sully16's avatar - sharan
      Ringleader
      Michigan
      United States
      Member #81740
      October 28, 2009
      40513 Posts
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      Posted: April 13, 2016, 1:12 pm - IP Logged

      Fahrenheit 451, The temperature in which paper burns.

      Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

      For a lead role in a cage?

       

                                                  From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

        music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
        Happy California
        United States
        Member #157856
        August 2, 2014
        1522 Posts
        Online
        Posted: April 13, 2016, 1:12 pm - IP Logged

         Canadians are some of the best friends that America has. They stood with us during 9/11 and the Iranian hostage crisis.

         Americans should stay out of politics in foreign countries.

         This forum is fine and free. As we would not want foreigners to impose their views on us then we should reciprocate.

         I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

         Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

          Avatar
          South Carolina
          United States
          Member #18322
          July 9, 2005
          1704 Posts
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          Posted: April 13, 2016, 1:30 pm - IP Logged

          The Devil's Advocate argument to this legislation is that the government does have an interest in legislating "morality" if the situation involves the mental or physical health and safety of its citizens as a whole.  We live in a day and age where the morality and values of society have seriously declined, tending toward Ground 0, and at the rate we're going now in society, how are we going to salvage basic morals, values, virtue, and respect for the value and dignity of human life ?? 

          Even though I know it's really an issue of  the Canadian government losing money to online gambling companies, which is why they are introducing the legislation in the first place, there actually are a lot of other online dangers that need to be regulated more, in addition to online child pornography [bad morals]

          The Internet is not regulated enough !!!  You can get away with just about anything online !!! At some point in time, there needs to be a Crackdown, more government regulation of the Internet !!! 

          Online social media sites need to be regulated more !!! These sites try to regulate themselves to some certain minor extent, however they haven't done a very good job at it, b/c it's too  expensive and very difficult to do so.  They don't have the resources, and neither does the federal government.  But the federal government can criminally prosecute.  More people have been scammed, threatened, and lost their lives, due to activity on the Internet !!!  The government should make some effort to regulate activity on the Internet !!!  Yes Nod

            amber123's avatar - OpIFNim

            United States
            Member #164727
            March 12, 2015
            2526 Posts
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            Posted: April 13, 2016, 2:01 pm - IP Logged

             Canadians are some of the best friends that America has. They stood with us during 9/11 and the Iranian hostage crisis.

             Americans should stay out of politics in foreign countries.

             This forum is fine and free. As we would not want foreigners to impose their views on us then we should reciprocate.

            But the U.S. Government is doing the same thing.. 

              amber123's avatar - OpIFNim

              United States
              Member #164727
              March 12, 2015
              2526 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 13, 2016, 2:08 pm - IP Logged

              The Devil's Advocate argument to this legislation is that the government does have an interest in legislating "morality" if the situation involves the mental or physical health and safety of its citizens as a whole.  We live in a day and age where the morality and values of society have seriously declined, tending toward Ground 0, and at the rate we're going now in society, how are we going to salvage basic morals, values, virtue, and respect for the value and dignity of human life ?? 

              Even though I know it's really an issue of  the Canadian government losing money to online gambling companies, which is why they are introducing the legislation in the first place, there actually are a lot of other online dangers that need to be regulated more, in addition to online child pornography [bad morals]

              The Internet is not regulated enough !!!  You can get away with just about anything online !!! At some point in time, there needs to be a Crackdown, more government regulation of the Internet !!! 

              Online social media sites need to be regulated more !!! These sites try to regulate themselves to some certain minor extent, however they haven't done a very good job at it, b/c it's too  expensive and very difficult to do so.  They don't have the resources, and neither does the federal government.  But the federal government can criminally prosecute.  More people have been scammed, threatened, and lost their lives, due to activity on the Internet !!!  The government should make some effort to regulate activity on the Internet !!!  Yes Nod

              The Government has no business to intervene in our personal lives, Internet or not. Unless there is harm being done to others, I should have every right to piss away all my life savings on whatever I want to without the greedy sticky fingers of the Govt. stepping in.

              The bottom line is greed, they just use all that other BS to justify their bad behaviors. The Govt. is such a bloated institution wasting countless billions on crap, not to mention the thievery, hypocrisy, and a list of a hundred other atrocities they commit every year which goes unseen behind closed doors. 

              They break almost every rule in the book but want us to follow the rules of decency. What a load of crock. Puke

                LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
                Green Bay
                United States
                Member #169391
                October 15, 2015
                1245 Posts
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                Posted: April 13, 2016, 3:21 pm - IP Logged

                Fahrenheit 451, The temperature in which paper burns.

                Yea sully...First you need someone with a match.  Seems the sheep are too busy grazing.

                Never give up.  Banana

                  winsumloosesum's avatar - Lottery-060.jpg
                  Pennsylvania
                  United States
                  Member #2218
                  September 1, 2003
                  5387 Posts
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                  Posted: April 13, 2016, 4:06 pm - IP Logged

                  Gota love it!!

                  "illegal sites don't apply the same "responsible gaming rules" as sites run by the government"

                  Government and Responsible.  Right!!

                    LottoBux's avatar - 2elh5if
                    Ontario
                    Canada
                    Member #109243
                    April 9, 2011
                    31437 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 14, 2016, 12:01 am - IP Logged

                    The Government has no business to intervene in our personal lives, Internet or not. Unless there is harm being done to others, I should have every right to piss away all my life savings on whatever I want to without the greedy sticky fingers of the Govt. stepping in.

                    The bottom line is greed, they just use all that other BS to justify their bad behaviors. The Govt. is such a bloated institution wasting countless billions on crap, not to mention the thievery, hypocrisy, and a list of a hundred other atrocities they commit every year which goes unseen behind closed doors. 

                    They break almost every rule in the book but want us to follow the rules of decency. What a load of crock. Puke

                    Thumbs UpWell said OM,

                    Couldn't Agree More

                    I'm Only 10-15 Mins Away From Quebec But I Rarely Go,

                                           

                      LottoBux's avatar - 2elh5if
                      Ontario
                      Canada
                      Member #109243
                      April 9, 2011
                      31437 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: April 14, 2016, 12:30 am - IP Logged

                      The Government has no business to intervene in our personal lives, Internet or not. Unless there is harm being done to others, I should have every right to piss away all my life savings on whatever I want to without the greedy sticky fingers of the Govt. stepping in.

                      The bottom line is greed, they just use all that other BS to justify their bad behaviors. The Govt. is such a bloated institution wasting countless billions on crap, not to mention the thievery, hypocrisy, and a list of a hundred other atrocities they commit every year which goes unseen behind closed doors. 

                      They break almost every rule in the book but want us to follow the rules of decency. What a load of crock. Puke

                      The province's finance minister says the bill is necessary to protect the "health and safety" of Quebecers

                      because illegal sites don't apply the same "responsible gaming rules" as sites run by the government

                      and pose a "risk to the population"

                      In Other Words ,They Pay Out Double

                      Quebec Pays 4,500.00 For A P4 Str8...Online It's 2x That

                      They're Only Worried That You're Not Spending Money In Quebec And The $$$ Are Going Elsewhere.

                      That's The Way Quebec Has Always Been...Me First

                                             

                        LottoBux's avatar - 2elh5if
                        Ontario
                        Canada
                        Member #109243
                        April 9, 2011
                        31437 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: April 14, 2016, 12:53 am - IP Logged

                        Proposed Quebec law will force ISP"s to block access to online gambling sites

                        Critics say the Internet-censoring legislation — unprecedented in Canada — is a way for Quebec’s state-owned gambling authority to block competition and could lead to governments across the country deciding what citizens can and can’t view online.

                        Moreover, law experts say the legislation violates freedom of expression, contradicts federal telecommunications law and will likely be challenged in court by Internet companies and civil rights groups.

                        “I think the (Quebec) government doesn’t understand the Internet and frankly doesn’t understand the importance of an open and free Internet,” said the University of Ottawa’s Michael Geist, a renowned online-law expert.

                        “Net neutrality” is understood to mean that Internet companies should be neutral carriers of content and not favour some sites over others or block access to certain sites.

                                               

                          Lotterologist's avatar - lightbulb
                          Lotto City, Michigan
                          United States
                          Member #36256
                          March 30, 2006
                          1472 Posts
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                          Posted: April 14, 2016, 7:01 am - IP Logged

                          That's terrible! Can Americans in Canada play the lottery online legally or are they subject to America's online gambling laws?

                          "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."----Niels Bohr