|The French Interior Minister has announced that the Government is looking into ways of controlling the Internet and developing a ‘black-list’ of prohibited sites.|
Michele Alliot-Marie announced the development of a best practices agreement with key Internet operators to allow for the blocking and dismantling of selected sites as part of a visit to the nation’s central crime-fighting office in Nanterre, which has a cyber wing devoted to communication and information technology offences.
According to WebInFrance.com, websites featuring recipes for building explosives, terrorist propaganda, racial invectives and incitements to hatred and violence will soon join child pornography on a ‘black-list’ of Internet sites prohibited in the country. France is following the example of Norway where a similar scheme is being developed but the Minister insisted that the move would not establish a ‘big brother’ scenario limiting freedom of expression.
Although Alliot-Marie did not specifically mention online gambling, the programme would allow the Government to better block non-French gaming sites as suppliers of Internet access in France have so far refused to impede such sites. This has forced French police to hunt down offenders in person and arrest them. Casino owner Patrick Partouche was recently given a sentence of twelve months in prison and a fine of just over $58,000 for his connection to a poker site hosted in Gibraltar.
However, more recently there appears to have been some rapprochement between France and the compliance authorities of the European Union with negotiations taking place in Brussels as to how best to move away from the State monopoly protectionist policies presently in force.