Leading Swedish internet service provider blowing the whistle as the state attempts to introduce IP-blocking of the now-unwanted gambling portals.
As reported by Bahnhof, one of Sweden’s major internet service providers (ISP), in late January they were sent an email by an investigator employed by the country’s authorities stating the task given by them was to contrive a practical set of measures aiming at mopping up the local market from ‘unauthorized’ virtual gambling companies.
As suggested by norskenyheter.com, currently Sweden is in the process of reshaping the legal framework for domestic online casino gaming, and it’s obvious already now the changes are to become fateful not only for indie operators, but also for Svenska Spel, the government-controlled gambling monopolist. One of the main focuses, though, is still on driving the now-unlicensed casino gaming operators out of the market, but the details of the government’s new gambling policy are to be revealed in March only.
According to Bahnhof, the investigator requested an audience with the provider, so as to give an overview of the company’s objectives in the joint operation. As stressed by the ISP’s head Jon Karlung, Bahnhof safeguards neutrality towards the possible benefits of virtual gambling. In his judgement, the state seems to maintain censorship on the Internet, this being an activity previously unthinkable in a democratic state like Sweden. Karlung expresses fear that, if strict government control of the gambling area will de-facto be implemented, casino and betting portals may be seen as a precedent for further toughenings.
Notably, the country’s much-acclaimed freedom of the Internet owes a great deal to Bahnhof, known to host WikiLeaks, the notoriously-known archive of incendiary documents and reports. A couple of years ago, Bahnhof refused to comply with the government’s request to block the infamous Pirate Bay digital content exchange portal. The state’s insistence only resulted in provider launching a free VPN functionality to help users retain virtual anonymity. In actual fact, although the courts in Sweden have mainly supported the decision of Internet providers to ignore the government’s demands to block certain websites, Mr. Karlung says the officials seem to be inclined to “try [their attempts] again and again until different types of monitoring and filtering [are tested]”.