Is Your Online Freedom Threatened?

Well the creator of the Web (some 25 years ago) Tim Berners-Lee believes the problem is a serious one, stating that he thinks the Web is under siege by corporate and government interests which are actually threatened by its open nature.   The sad fact he said ‘was that older media who are threatened by the internet simply look the other way or even cheer on the erosion of peoples liberty whilst online.’

The problem appears to be that abuse of the open internet has become far too tempting for big companies and also governments, for if it turns out that a company can control the public access the can therefore also control which webistes can be accessed, and this leads to greater control over the general public lives as a whole. They can spy on what people are doing and learn a enormous ammount about an individual. It was also suggested that a Government could even block the opposition’s political web pages hence only providing a blinkered view of reality in order to keep themselves in power, and its all scary stuff once you begin to think about the consequences of such actions.

Tim Berners-Lee thinks that the situation has become so serious that he is actively campaigning for a Magna Carta type charter to protect the internet’s independence and its users privacy whilst online. Unfortunately there is obvious resistance from the lawyers who serve the big companies that know that if they can make a play to take control, then it is well worth a great deal of cash to do so, even to the point of tweaking certain laws to allow loopholes, which in turn will give them the power to abuse the general public; again the thought of this happening is indeed very scary stuff!

One aspect of the internet has been the emergence and growing popularity of gambling through cyberspace. Online gambling first emerged in 1995 but it is only relatively recently that the industry has grown substantially. It was as late as 1997 before the burgeoning into a large industry as up until then there were approxiamtely only fifteen gambling web sites offered to the general public.

When it comes to the topic of Internet Gambling, the terminology of the Internet being an Information Superhighway or a virtual post office does not really apply to gambling on the web. Unlike much of the activity on the Net where there is freedom of speech, gaming is not so, as there are very few expressive elements in playing, for example blackjack online. It is in this way that the Internet differs with respect to gambling in the sense, that it is not a format through which information is flowing but rather it is the infrastructure which is virtually transporting the casino to the general public’s home or even vice-versa.

It is because of this and the very fact that gambling implicate no constitutionally protected right (rather instead it falls into the category of vice) which could be and indeed has frequently been used and has caused the banning of online gambling altogether (Under United States Law)

Yet despite this power to ban, gambling survives and has also been allowed to exist in varying degrees throughout the history of the United States.

The continuing ease of Internet gambling has raised a great deal of concern from some states and federal governments as now the general public do not have to rely upon state sanctioned gaming such as the State Lottery, as now with the click of a button the general public can wager almost any amount of money from the comfort of their own homes, and of course this concern of government is also fulled by their loss of revenue.

To this end, it is also a crime to conspire to commit a crime, and the Federal Law enforcement officials have used the general Conspiracy statute to actually prosecute US citizens running offshore sports books in the Caribbean.

There is continuing debate and dealings going on within the US states about the regulation and licensing of online gambling and this appears to be one of those situations which will drag on for a long period before everyone is satisfied with their cut of the potential revenue, yet even as this carries on US citizens still find a way to place a bet if they wish to.

Information sourcd from https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/fallsem98/final_papers/Glassberg.html