Court Rules Quebec Plan for Mandated ISP Blocking of Online Gambling Sites is Unconstitutional

The Quebec Superior Court has ruled that the provincial rules creating a mandated ISP blocking system for unlicensed online gambling sites is unconstitutional. The provincial government introduced the rules in 2015, which create a list of unlicensed sites that ISPs must block or face financial penalties. While the government tried to frame the blocking system as a health and safety measure, it was always obvious from its own documentation that the plan was primarily focused on increasing revenues of Loto-Quebec, a provincially licensed online gambling site. The mandated blocking scheme was legally vulnerable in several respects including the inconsistency of the rules with exclusive federal jurisdiction over telecommunications, net neutrality, and freedom of expression protections. The CRTC issued a decision in 2016 that the Quebec law encroached on its powers but it held off formally addressing the issue pending a court challenge filed by the telecom industry, which…

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