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Canada Censorship Government The Internet

Quebec Introduces Bill To Mandate ISP Website Blocking (michaelgeist.ca) 137

An anonymous reader writes: The Government of Quebec has introduced new legislation that requires Internet service providers to block access to unlicensed online gambling sites. The provisions are contained in an omnibus bill implementing elements of the government's spring budget, which included a promise to establish website blocking requirements. The bill provides that "an Internet service provider may not give access to an online gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Québec law." The government's lottery commission will establish the list of banned websites.
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Quebec Introduces Bill To Mandate ISP Website Blocking

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    government gambling system will decide which other competitors' gambling systems are to be allowed.

    I'm sure there's no opportunity for misuse or graft here either....

    what's the old bit of bumper-sticker or bathroom stall wisdom?: "Don't steal, the government hates competition!"?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And it's a one-way blacklist because they won't be able to reevaluate a blocked website due to it being blocked on their own ISP (unless Quebec's lottery commission relocates to Ontario?)

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @01:34PM (#50923389)

      I don't think you understand what a government is. The primary function of government is to an entity that can provide Utilities and grant monopolies. Seriously, that is the primary function. Utilities are for cases where it's in each (or collectively most) persons advantage for the service to exist as deemed by the government but that no one would individually pay for given a choice. e.g. the armed forces or the highway system. The other is to monopolize certain powers such as the power to imprison. Monopolies are useful when many prviders would create chaos but there is no market force that would correct that. In the early days the buildout of rural phone and electric services and train service was aided by monopoly grants to bussinesses.

      When governments do something other than offer utilities or monopolies this should be questioned. But those two things are it's purpose.

      • I wonder how the gov't proposes that ISPs deal with proxy sites. Can't just ban the proxy site... or maybe they will? Proxy sites may be out of their jursidiction.

      • The primary function of government is to an entity that can provide Utilities and grant monopolies.

        You must have seen/heard a different version of that Schoolhouse Rock song/episode, The Preamble [imdb.com]. Here's what I saw/heard:

        We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

        I guess your PBS station sucks.

        • 1) Quebec is not America. Quebec is part of a country whose entire reason to exist is to restrict the import of American ideals. In particular, Canadian Constitutional law is based on two principles anathema to American thinkers: the usefulness of a hereditary monarchy, and the necessity of heavily restricting the free speech rights of English-speakers in Quebec.

          2) Defense, "domestic tranquility," and Justice in the US are utilities and monopolies. The "general welfare" is a bit more nebulous, but most thi

      • The primary function of government is to an entity that can provide Utilities and grant monopolies. Seriously, that is the primary function. Utilities are for cases where [corrupt politicians want to hand out favors to unions and corporations] . Monopolies are useful when [corrupt politicians want to hand out favors to corporations and unions]

        There, FTFY.

        When governments do something other than offer utilities or monopolies this should be questioned. But those two things are it's purpose.

        The only thing our

        • Interesting logic, but who's supposed to arbitrate disputes, if there is no bigger entity? Just let the winner be the one who kills first?

          I prefer the current system, since I prefer to spend my money on something other than the biggest weapons and highest walls.

          • Interesting logic, but who's supposed to arbitrate disputes, if there is no bigger entity? Just let the winner be the one who kills first?

            I would think that it's obvious that stopping people from killing each other falls under "securing our liberty".

            Preventing people from killing each other and dispute resolution obviously doesn't fall under "creating monopolies and public utilities".

      • You are flat out wrong. A governments role is to govern the wider population. It's where the damn name comes from.

        Stop making shit up and asserting it as fact because you think it should be.

        • If you think about it, utilities and monopolies are pretty much the method by which a government governs.

          The utility of defense against foreign governments, for example, is provided by the monopoly of force of the local government. Security against crime/riots/etc. is both a public utility (it is useful to the public), and guaranteed by the above-mentions monopoly of force. Standard contract law and other civil procedures are in the same category.

          Hell, you have a monopoly on your property enforced by the go

      • by TimSSG ( 1068536 )
        Those are secondary functions that you list. The primary function of government seems to be to insure that their monopoly of being the ones with the power to grant monopolies to others is upheld. Tim S.

        I don't think you understand what a government is. The primary function of government is to an entity that can provide Utilities and grant monopolies. Seriously, that is the primary function. Utilities are for cases where it's in each (or collectively most) persons advantage for the service to exist as deemed by the government but that no one would individually pay for given a choice. e.g. the armed forces or the highway system. The other is to monopolize certain powers such as the power to imprison. Monopolies are useful when many prviders would create chaos but there is no market force that would correct that. In the early days the buildout of rural phone and electric services and train service was aided by monopoly grants to bussinesses.

        When governments do something other than offer utilities or monopolies this should be questioned. But those two things are it's purpose.

      • by YayaY ( 837729 )

        Telecommunication is of federal jurisdiction. Quebec province is blatantly abusing its power.

  • VPN much? Tor much?
    • I think this means ISPs will have to get into hacking now.
    • by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @01:02PM (#50923085)

      The government wouldn't care. If it blocks 90% of the users, it's a big win for Loto-Québec.

      • The government wouldn't care. If it blocks 90% of the users, it's a big win for Loto-Québec.

        I predict that the Mohawks who are running many of the sites will NOT be happy.

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          Yay! It's been a while since we had a nice armed standoff or riot. Of course, when the Mohawks are unhappy it can be difficult to get to the beach, so I hope they work it out by next summer.

        • Oka incident version 2.5 perhaps? Different situation, same players.

          I wouldn't be surprised if such a showdown occurred once again, Province of Quebec vs. First Nations once again will not be a pretty sight. Never was and likely never will be given the dregs which have been fought over due to colonization.

          • The previous confrontation was over land. The Mohawk gambling stuff will be harder to motivate all natives, because it only benefits the people running it, and there's no real "target" that they can block. Sure, they can block route 132 and the Mercier bridge, but we've been through that before. Of course, doing that hurts their illegal trade in tobacco products, and the government can use that as a way to search all vehicles entering and leaving to find smuggling of alcohol, cigarettes, and firearms.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        The government wouldn't care. If it blocks 90% of the users, it's a big win for Loto-Québec.

        Once the block list is established, it's only a matter of time before the web sites of political movements those in power dislike somehow make it on the list, as has happened with most of the "think of the children" blocklists in the UK and EU thus far. Any such grant of power to the government is the camel's nose under the tent. It's only a matter of time before a party comes to power with no qualms about abusing such tools (and, usually, not much time at that).

    • At least King Canute knew he couldn't hold back the tide.

    • VPN much? Tor much?

      We're talking about gabling addicts pas,t present, and future.

      Perhaps not rocket scientists.

  • by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @12:56PM (#50923021)

    Gambling is a government monopoly by law in the province. So either repeal this law and allow competition, or be consequent and enforce the law whether online or in brick and mortar casinos.

    • Not justified (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @01:09PM (#50923171)

      Gambling is a government monopoly by law in the province.

      That's not an adequate justification for forcing ISPs to expend substantial resources defending that monopoly. The ISPs are a neutral party here and dragging them into the issue is unfair.

      • That's not an adequate justification for forcing ISPs to expend substantial resources

        Substantial resources? Seriously? That's a basic shell script to run a bunch of DNS resolutions and then add the addresses into an existing Firewall drop policy. That's sys/net management 100 level stuff.

        If you are a bad admin you have to run the script on each Firewall. If you are a good one you have a central place to update such policies that can then be pushed out as desired.

        If you are expending "significant" resources on such a task, you are doing it wrong. Seriously wrong.

        Note: I'm not defending what

        • When someone tells you to do something you don't want to do, you play stupid. e.g. someone subpoenas something, do you give them a thumb drive or do you print it out using an old lineprinter with a dead ribbon for them.

        • "If you are expending "significant" resources on such a task, you are doing it wrong. Seriously wrong."

          Unless you're the government. Then it's par for the course.
        • Substantial resources? Seriously?

          Yes, substantial resources. But frankly even if it were just a penny I would have a problem with it just on principle.

          That's a basic shell script to run a bunch of DNS resolutions and then add the addresses into an existing Firewall drop policy.

          It won't be anywhere near that simple. I'm an accountant (among other things) so let me fill you in on where the costs will land. There will be administrative costs to this. There will be documentation and reports. There will be management reviews. It takes time for the network administrators to deal with. The lists will have to be updated and maintained. There will likely be legal co

        • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

          Substantial resources? Seriously? That's a basic shell script to run a bunch of DNS resolutions and then add the addresses into an existing Firewall drop policy. That's sys/net management 100 level stuff.

          Yeah that'll get em. So now Dad will just have to ask his middle school aged kid how to circumvent the block. With alternative hostnames, IPs, VPNs, proxies, etc..., not to just mention new sites, it's not like people are going to be slowed down much. At best, it will just prevent the casual curious user fr

        • by sabri ( 584428 )

          Substantial resources? Seriously? That's a basic shell script to run a bunch of DNS resolutions and then add the addresses into an existing Firewall drop policy. That's sys/net management 100 level stuff.

          You have no clue what you are talking about.

          Hundreds of thousands of websites can share an IP address.

          The only way to properly block a particular website is by intercepting the protocols (HTTP and HTTPS, by forcing SNI) and then permit or deny access. And that will definitely need a substantial amount of resources.

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          Substantial resources? Seriously? That's a basic shell script to run a bunch of DNS resolutions and then add the addresses into an existing Firewall drop policy.

          Nobody needed to access the other web sites on those shared IPs anyway.

          • by Agripa ( 139780 )

            Oh, and wait until one of the DNS addresses listed on the ban list changes their IP to various Quebec's government sites or anybody else they do not like. Allowing someone else to modify your drop rules is always a good idea.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      All laws are relative. The government does not have permission to go all out to enforce every law. They're not Danson and Highsmith from The Other Guys. The damage they do has to be weighed against the benefit of enforcing the law. And really, what law are they enforcing? That people overseas may not operate gambling sites? Does Canada have jurisdiction there? Or is it that Canadians may not gamble overseas? Does the law actually say that? But even if blocking access actually helped enforcing a law, the dam

    • Gambling is a government monopoly by law in the province. So either repeal this law and allow competition, or be consequent and enforce the law whether online or in brick and mortar casinos.

      Your argument would be a valid reason for the Quebec government to shut down online gambling services in Quebec. But they are trying to force ISPs to block the traffic to these sites. A brick-and-mortar analog would be to forbid taxi or bus companies from driving passengers if they might be headed towards an illegal casino. Or to require car manufacturers to install GPS and locking hardware to prevent people from driving themselves to these casinos.

      • Your argument would be a valid reason for the Quebec government to shut down online gambling services in Quebec.

        They can't shutdown web sites hosted outside of Quebec.
        Do you think web sites hosted offshore should be allowed to sell child pornography even if it is illegal in Quebec?

        I think in the case of gambling, it's better to block the access to illegal web sites than to spend resources to track and arrest those who use them.

  • by nightfire-unique ( 253895 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @01:20PM (#50923273)
    .. the dictionary definition of corruption. Like, literally.
  • Every jurisdiction has the rights to create laws within its mandate. In Canada, gambling seems to fall partially or entirely into the mandate of the provinces. Now you have a technology that makes it both possible and convenient to circumvent the laws by placing the activity in a jurisdiction where it's legal while allowing participants to remain in jurisdictions where it is illegal (may that be due to outright prohibition or it needing to fulfill certain legal requirements). Now you have law enforcement

    • Every jurisdiction has the rights to create laws within its mandate.

      [citation needed]

      Every jurisdiction claims that right, since it's fundamental to the nature of government. That doesn't mean such a right actually exists.

      • Every jurisdiction claims that right,

        Note that governments to not have Rights. Only people have Rights. Governments have Powers.

        Note also that a government's Powers extend pretty much as far as their firepower extends. If the men with guns can make you obey, then the government's laws matter. Otherwise, not so much.

    • The internet makes outlawing a bunch of illegal activities, like unregulated gambling, absolutely moot. Not that it should be illegal anyway.

      Governments will either have to give up, and understand they can't enforce this stuff now, or stoop to low levels and ban the technological methods that allow this, like Tor and VPNs.

  • by MagickalMyst ( 1003128 ) on Friday November 13, 2015 @01:52PM (#50923549)
    I used to work in the online gambling industry for a company based out of Quebec. Their online casinos (about 40+) were all legally licensed - in Antigua - but that was just a ruse.

    The actual casino servers were illegally hosted in downtown Montreal. They were owned and operated by a couple of convicted Jewish fraudsters. Their 'customer service' team were almost exclusively family members, and were the only ones who actually dealt with the customers. Nearly everyone else was 'technical support' - web developers; DBA's; third party marketing agencies and software developers.

    There were also a large number of 'real' (money) gamblers who worked for the Canadian government and who all used their *.gc.ca email accounts to register at the casinos. The opportunities for blackmail here are quite obvious. Then the casino operators built Mohawk Internet Technologies on the Kahnawakee reserve to 'legalize' their business - by operating on native soil. The natives are given pittance in return - a little cash and employment as gun-toting security guards. From the outside, the whole operation looks likes a Columbian drug cartel's compound.

    According to the article, ISP's are supposed to block 'non-licensed' casinos. Considering that most online casinos are 'technically' licensed, it seems to be a moot point. The article doesn't mention what the Quebec government considers a legitimate license. One would assume that a legitimate license is one issued in the province of Quebec.

    FTA: "...the best solution for the government is to establish clear rules and open up the online gambling market to private operators."

    Interestingly, that was always the wet dream of these casino operators. I suspect that this whole licensing issue is the brainchild of the casino operators themselves.

    I'm guessing that the Kahnawakee Gaming Commission will be the official gaming license standard for Quebec. That way, only casinos that these shady crooks own or are profiting from will be the only ones that get past the filters.

    Also, if you are thinking about gambling online - don't. It is a scam. Big time. And if you absolutely MUST throw your hard-earned money away then throw it into the fireplace. At least it will keep you warm.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      [I]f you absolutely MUST throw your hard-earned money away then throw it into the fireplace. At least it will keep you warm.

      Buy a boat. It won't keep you warm, or even dry, and it will quickly stop to be any fun at all, but goddammit, you'll own a boat.

  • by wbean ( 222522 )
    Of course nobody would use a VPN? Note that the ad that came with this story read: "Slashdot Deals: Get The Fastest VPN For Your Internet Security..." (Their capitalization.)
  • The stock market is also gambling. Every advert for the stock trader industry includes something along the lines of 'past performance is no guarantee of future results.'
  • I would assume that to comply with this law most ISPs would choose to just block by IP using a DNSBL.

    That wouldn't require much, if any, extra hardware and would work with HTTPS.

    But what if IPs are shared or change often?

    From TFA it sounds like this is not a real time BL so I am sure there are going to be lots of cracks.

    Seems like a lot of effort for no real gain since all a user has to do is to run a VPN or TOR...

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      I would assume that to comply with this law most ISPs would choose to just block by IP using a DNSBL.

      That wouldn't require much, if any, extra hardware and would work with HTTPS.

      But what if IPs are shared or change often?

      I hope they try this. How long will it take for the gambling sites being blocked to realize that they can now add IPs to the block list?

  • By the time the governments are done blocking sites, plus people in general just wanting to torrent and browse anonymously, VPN providers must be making bank.

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