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A major European state decides to just cut access to a huge tranche of international websites and no-one moves a finger. I can't believe this won't hit the tech press early next week.
here is one story I found:
[edited by: vincevincevince at 3:50 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2006]
BTW, the company that pays most into the coffers of Mediaset TV company, (the company that, coincidentally, Silvio Berlusconi owns) operates out of Gibraltar, is not Italian (Austrian according to this: <snip> and has escaped this ban - somehow. I wonder why...
[edited by: lawman at 5:25 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2006]
[edit reason] No URLs Please - Must Be a Subscriber Anyway [/edit]
Some checking has established that not all non-Italian gambling-related entities are hit, certainly within the EU...
Even so, this is still clearly against the EU "esprit-de-corps" that the Italians/French/Germans like to claim that the British (for one) fail to show. It is no wonder that the ECB and the Euro are still seen as puppets of domestic EU politics, and it will need this sort of behaviour to stop before the Euro and Euro-area really grow up. Well, that and removal of highly partisan and restrictive services and employment laws of course! B^>
Gambling is a loser's game, even for the 'winners'.
Now please block access to porn sites, and I might even visit Italy.
They didn't block access to gambling sites because gambling is "immoral", or "to protect Italian gamers from “phishing”". They blocked it because those sites aren't licensed in Italy; i.e., they don't pay any tax to the Italian State Monopolies [aams.it].
The Italian State has declared that this “oscuramento”, to be made effective on Friday 24 February 2006, is intended to protect Italian players from ‘phishing’ and not to protect the Italian Monopoly. Whatever the intention, it is very clear that the Italian Finance Act, which came into force without prior notification to the Commission as foreseen by the ‘Transparency’ Directive 98/34/EC, discriminates against operators which are not licensed in Italy, and violates at least five categories of EU principles, namely, the freedom of establishment and freedom to provide cross-border services as enshrined in Articles 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty and the recent ECJ case law
You will find, unfortunately, that French and Italian politicians/governments completely ignore laws and treaties that they have signed up to when they are inconvenient, yet berate others for daring to even think about doing the same.
The Italian betting fiasco is one case in point.
The "bird flu is not too dangerous so we'll go on exporting" line from the French (whereas they REFUSED point blank to restart imports of British beef after being certified free of BSE, and then refused to pay the fines for breaking EU law; no one was forcing any French citizen to buy or eat the beef, since we'd all be wary of course, but refusing to allow their own citizens to make the free choice for themselves was the substance of the crime).
The French in particular (more so even than the US, which gets a lots of stick for this) are frequently prepared to tell the world to go to hell but then demand equal access and rights out of the other side of their mouths. This is one of the reasons why the EU is in such poor shape, which is a shame, since I'm sure that if they did not have such a damaging hold things like the Euro would be a much better bet and the UK would have joined long ago. I've advocated suspending French membership of the EU until they are prepared to play by the rules they set, since they have one of the poorest rates of compliance with EU law AFAIK, and don't give a damn. The Italians would be next on my list. B^>
(It may also be worth noting that if not for (partly-self-granted) immunity from prosecution while in office, the presidents of both France and Italy would very likely be in jail right now; certainly up to their necks in the brown stuff in court. This is how we know how much respect they have for the law they apply to the "little people".)
Please note: this diatribe is aimed at the political elite of every colour in France/Italy, not at the citizens. I know many people from each country who dispair of the corruption (since that is what it is, in effect) of their "ruling class".
<end rant (for now)>
Hey if they can't stop the Chinese, from defeating the great firewall, and they live under a dictatorship, how are they going to do it in a free and democratic society, with unrestricted exchange of information?