"Demanding that a private-sector Internet service provider block access to Web sites is not a proper function of our state government." -- Minnesota State Rep. Pat Garofalo (pictured)

Minnesota State Representative Pat Garofalo yesterday introduced a bill to prevent the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (MDPS) from forcing Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to Internet gaming sites. The legislation comes in response to recent letters the MDPS sent to ISPs and telecommunications providers requiring them to block a list of some 200 Internet gaming sites to computers located in Minnesota.

"The Department of Public Safety has to have better things to do with their time than to go after a college kid in his dorm room or some guy sitting in his basement spending a couple of hours playing online poker," said Garofalo. "Demanding that a private-sector Internet service provider block access to Web sites is not a proper function of our state government."

The legislation introduced by Garofalo would stop the Department of Public Safety from blocking access to Web sites without prior legislative approval; though the Department would be able to recommend legislation that would authorize such investigations or enforcement actions.

"I'm certainly not condoning online gambling," said Garofalo. "But I have serious concerns about government banning access to Web sites. This is the kind of thing they do in communist China, not the United States of America."

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government