France wants to filter online gambling sites

By EDRi · October 7, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Frankreich will online-Glücksspielseiten filtern |]

From 7 till 9 October 2009, the French National Assembly will discuss a
draft law on opening the competition and regulation of online gambling
sector. The text foresees the creation of a similar authority to that of
HADOPI, called ARJEL that would order the filtering of the gambling sites
considered to operate illegally.

Although in a first version of the draft law ARJEL was referring to a judge
for the blocking of the site, now, in order to expedite the procedure, the
present text gives the authority the direct right to impose filtering of
websites to ISPs.

ARJEL is meant to operate in a similar way to HADOPI. The authority will
address the non-authorised gambling sites asking them to observe the
interdiction and giving them 8 days to present their observations. In case
of non-compliance, the authority may order the banning of the service. The
authority can act upon any claim made by any natural or legal person.

The text says nothing about the filtering methods to be used or the way to
make public or update the list of sites to be blocked and no reference is
made to the costs incurred by blocking the sites. Deputy Lionel Tardy and
the socialist group have submitted an amendment to the text by which they
require the filtering modalities to be specified by the law as well as the
modalities to compensate the costs supported by operators. The group also
asks for the reintroduction of the initial legal procedure, where a judge is
the one who takes the decision regarding blocking the websites.

La Quadrature du Net warns that not only filtering sites is entirely
inefficient but it is also a dangerous measure as it may just be a precedent
allowing for an extention from gambling sites to other types of sites later
on, opening the door to limitations of the freedom of expression and
bringing forth the risk of censoring the Internet. There is also the risk of
blocking other sites than the targeting ones which may happen when access to
a site is blocked especially if this is done based on their IP address.

Another serious issue is that ARJEL as administrative authority is given the
power to direclty filter sites, which is unconstitutional.

As it happened in case of Hadopi, la Quadrature du Net encourages the
citizens to contact their deputies and convince them to stop Internet

Online gambling: The Assembly asked to vote for Net filtering (only in
French, 5.10.2009)

Blocking a site is to limit access to the Internet (only in French,

Online gambling: Filtering the Net on 7 October in the Assembly (only in
French, 5.10.2009)

Draft project: Economy: online gambling- Preliminary works of the National
Assembly – First reading (only in French)

Draft Law N° 1549 – National Assembly – on the openness to competition and
the regulation of online gambling (only in French, 30.03.2009)