|(Washington, DC – December 13, 2007) – The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) announced today that it has filed its objections with the Department of Treasury over the agency’s proposed regulations regarding the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The new law, attached in the waning minutes of the 109th Congress to the unrelated Safe Ports Act with very little input from Members of Congress, is a misguided and potential harmful attempt to regulate Internet content.|
iMEGA believes UIGEA and its proposed regulations establish a dangerous precedent for denying Americans’ First Amendment rights; that it will stifle online innovation and commerce; that it will inadequately protect children by eliminating the established safeguards offered by banks and credit card companies; and that it will have a chilling effect on the privacy rights of Internet users. iMEGA has made asserting and safeguarding Americans’ civil liberties in the online world part of their core mission.
“These proposed regulations will limit Americans’ freedom to use the Internet as they see fit in the privacy of their own homes,” said Edward Leyden, President, iMEGA. “While UIGEA is intended to protect minors and problem gamblers, the law ironically makes these groups more vulnerable by targeting US banks and credit card companies, whose identity verification, fraud prevention and credit profiling systems protect online consumers every day.”
“How does this make children and problem gamblers safer?” Leyden asked. “The fact is, it does not, and is certainly not worth the trade-off in our First Amendment rights the law demands. This is a dangerous precedent that must be corrected to preserve our digital civil rights.”
iMEGA noted in its filing that it was alarmed by the agency’s refusal to define exactly what an “unlawful gambling transaction” is, and was equally alarmed that the required determination would be delegated on an ad hoc basis to the entity or person having a “customer relationship” with an Internet gaming concern.
In addition, the regulations would, if implemented, exert a chilling effect on Internet innovation by imposing unprecedented burdens on the financial system, and risk stifling the growth of electronic commerce.
“The Internet is indispensable to our economy and our freedom,” said Leyden. “We implore the Congress to join in a bipartisan effort to preserve Americans “Digital Civil Rights” and to enact legislation that will guaranty these rights and prevent future abuse.”
About iMEGA – The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA), a 501(c) 6 trade association, was founded in 2007 with the goal of working constructively and cooperatively with government at all levels, and other concerned citizens and corporations, to continue the remarkable growth of the Internet, and to promote innovation, openness and freedom as the path to even greater benefit of this medium for all. For more information, visit www.imega.org.