ATR has been periodically reporting on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s quixotic effort to censor the internet by ordering 11 of the largest internet service providers in the nation to block access to 200 online gaming sites.
MN Rep. Pat Garofolo responded by introducing legislation, HF 2370, that would circumvent the DPS’s order. Click here to view the letter that ATR sent to all members of the Minnesota legislature last week in support of HF 2370.
ATR has since learned from MN state officials that Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) will likely reverse the DPS’s unlawful order based on the fact that the DPS does not have jurisdiction over the internet, which spans 150 countries worldwide.
A reversal of the DPS’s order will also prevent a tremendous misallocation of scarce state resources and save the Minnesota taxpayers from a hefty tab in legal fees.
In response to the DPS’s actions, the Internet Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) has filed suit against John Willems, Director of the DPS’s Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division. ATR fully concurs with iMEGA’s contention that the state of Minnesota does not have jurisdiction over the internet and that the DPS’s action violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
Unfortunately this is not Minnesota’s first foray into stifling e-commerce. In 2005 the state issued regulations to prevent Minnesotans from ordering wine online from in-state and out-of-state wineries. That action, too, drew a lawsuit.
ATR looks forward to a reversal of the DPS’s unlawful action and avoidance of the horrible precedent that it would set.