Denmark Passes Law Censoring 'Unauthorized' Online Gambling Sites

Published Monday, May 31, 2010 -

Recently the Danish Supreme Court upheld a decision made in a lower court which insures that internet service providers will continue to block access to websites that may contain or link to other sites which contain content which infringes on copyrights. The decision has been criticized by internet freedom advocates as a step backward for web freedom in Denmark. The argument contends that forcing ISP’s to police the Internet without due process the decision marks a dangerous precedent that is likely to include other “illegal” or “offensive” material in the future like online gambling.

Denmark has been voted the country with the least censored press in the world by Reporters Without Borders, which is in some jeopardy after the Supreme Court decision on the filtering of the web. As with all governments who are in between the rock and the hard place when it comes to censoring unsavoury and undesirable content on the net, they are basically just trying to do what is best for the well being of the citizens.

Recently the Danish parliament passed a law, allowing the taxation department to notify ISPs of web sites operated by “unauthorized” providers of online-gambling. ISPs will then be required to censor these sites. If the relevant ISPs refuse or fail to do so they will be subject to criminal liability and prosecution. There is no room left for discussion on the decision of the tax authorities and no recourse is offered to websites or ISP's.

Further debate is expected from those opposing this kind of censorship, claiming the new law is in contravention of the Danish constitution’s prohibition against censorship and or the European Convention on Human Rights’ protection of freedom of expression and access to information. Several Danish lawmakers such as the Socialist Peoples’ Party and the Danish Peoples’ Party have suggested far reaching internet censorship without too much success.

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