Security Risks Posed by U.S. Firms Abetting Foreign Internet Operatives


As reported earlier, the feds have been threatening legal action against media companies that carry ads for online gambling sites based overseas. Today's NY Times has more on this, and says the government is going after others doing business with Internet gambling sites.

The investigation into the activities of media, public relations and technology companies relies on a controversial legal concept that holds that the American businesses, by providing advertising and other services that support Internet gambling, are "aiding and abetting" online casinos. That gives prosecutors an indirect way to attack the overseas enterprises, whose operations are illegal here but fall outside their jurisdiction.

Prosecutors have subpoened a market research analyst looking for information "not just about advertisers working with overseas Internet casinos, but also about public relations firms, consultants, banks, and software and telecommunications companies."

NEXT: Al-Andalus Redux?

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  1. Meanwhile, state lotteries continue ripping off poor people by offering games with the worst odds on the planet.

  2. Ashcroft’s Crimson Avengers, formerly known as the U.S. Dept. of Justice, are entirely in the wrong when they seek to categorize ads for Internet gambling sites as ‘aiding and abetting’. In the first place, the Renhquist Supreme Court, in its 1999 decision in GREATER NEW ORLEANS BROADCASTING v. U.S., said that broadcast ads for gambling were legal, providing the gambling itself was legal where the ad originated. Secondly, it is clear from Federal case law that in order to be regarded as an ‘aiding and abetting’ principal, a party must share the criminal intent and have a stake in the commission of the crime ( oh, and by the way, there is no such thing as ‘aiding and abetting’ an act not forbidden by law). Advertisers, unless they agree to be paid a percentage of the gambling joint’s ‘drop’ or ‘take’ cannot be rationally considered as part of the “business of gambling” and thus a priori cannot form the requisite intent.

    No less than eleven U.S. States now license fully online betting on their respective horse races, and another ten allow the use of the Internet in picking the ponies. Both Nevada and the Virgin Islands have passed legislation authorizing online gaming, and New Jersey is looking at it. Even Georgia’s lower house passed a bill to allow the State lottery to take bets via the Internet.

    For Ashcroft and Co. to claim that Internet gambling is illegal, therefore, flies in the face of the facts. What we have here is a tantrum of the True Believers. Unable to win the legal argument by legal means, they turn to raw intimidation and abuse of power.

    Somebody remind me again – who won the Cold War?

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