AW: Italy orders ISPs to block sites

Patrick W. Gilmore patrick at
Tue Mar 7 13:12:59 UTC 2006

On Mar 7, 2006, at 3:56 AM, Owen DeLong wrote:

>> I understand, that from an American point of view this kind of  
>> restriction
>> looks strange and is against your act of freedom, however here in  
>> Europe
>> gambling is a state controlled business that supports the state  
>> economy
>> and in most European countries gambling outside state controlled  
>> casinos
>> is simply illegal and forbidden by law.
> Even in the US, this is true.  Gambling in California is illegal  
> (except
> indian casions, long story), because Nevada has a powerful lobby in  
> California.

That's an interesting comment.

The largest cardroom in the world is in California (Commerce  
Casino).  And there are plenty of places to play poker.

The difference is that California has decided (properly, IMHO) that  
poker is a game of _skill_, not chance.  And there are other games  
you can play at these cardrooms, but you play them against other  
players, not the house.  And most online gambling sites either allow  
poker or sports betting.  I guess you could call sports begging  
"gambling", but there is skill involved there too.

Not that things like "facts" matter to politicians, or even  
lawyers.... :-)

> I don't question the validity of the law.  That's between the  
> Italians and
> their government.  I question the practicality of enforcing the law  
> because
> the way the internet and the international economies work, it is  
> virtually
> impossible to enforce this short of something like the great firewall
> of China (which still allows SSH through for the most part, so...).

Bringing this back to Operational Content <gasp>, this is the big  
point.  I honestly do no believe you can stop people from getting to  
sites they want to see without stopping Internet access as a whole.   
Even the Great Firewall Of China is essentially swiss cheese to  
anyone who wants to get around it.  Fear of "meat-space" punishment  
is probably more important than the technology used.

Yes, most people use their ISP's recursive NS, but that's 'cause  
they're lazy.  When it stops working, they'll use something else.   
Block $DEFAULT_PORT for filesharing, they'll find another.  So unless  
you proxy 100% of the traffic (possible, but difficult), and watch  
for proxies outside your proxy (nearly impossible), people will get  

Seeing governments try to legislate around technology they do not  
understand is ... amusing.  If they want to stop this activity,  
making a law regarding routers or servers is not the way to do it.

IMHO, of course.


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