Monday June 6, 2011: Competitive Enterprise Institute criticises US enforcement actions
The actions of US enforcement agencies in shutting down the US operations of three foreign-based online poker websites "has made a mockery of America's stated commitment to Internet freedom," opines the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), an organisation dedicated to "free markets and limited government."
On April 15, the DOJ seized the domain names of three major poker sites, Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, in a move that impacted online gambling operations in nations where Internet poker is lawful and the U.S. government has no jurisdiction, the internet freedom body claims.
The agencies were able to unilaterally do that because the domains carried ".com" extensions and were registered with American companies.
"Federal agents obtained a court order that compelled Verisign, the operator of the .com registry, to reroute the poker sites' domain names to a government page featuring intimidating federal logos notifying users of the seizure," the CEI reports.
"Therefore no computer in the world, even those in countries where poker is explicitly legal, could access the internet poker sites via their [original] domain names."
The Newsmax site notes that at least one of the companies, Absolute Poker, is considering challenging the US action at the World Trade Organisation, presumably through a friendly WTO member nation. Antigua, which has already been successful in WTO issues with the USA over online gambling, could be such a partner.
"It is deeply troubling that the United States, a country that purports to value individual freedom, has so miserably failed to protect it when it comes to politically incorrect pursuits like online gambling," the CEI concludes.
"The DOJ's heavy-handed tactics should outrage anybody who values freedom and individual rights."