In a decision made upon the Internet Society Israel Chapter petition,the Court for Administrative Affairs in Tel-Aviv, Israel held that the police had no authority to order Internet service providers to block access to gambling websites.
Accordingly, the blocking orders issued by the Chief of Police for the District of Tel-Aviv were declared to be null and void (The Internet Society Israel Chapter (ISOC-IL) v. Chief of Police for the District of Tel Aviv, AA 45606-10-10 (Mar. 2, 2012)).
ISOC-IL developed its petition in the interests of Israeli web-users and the general public after an August 2010 police order to block access to eight gambling websites operating outside Israel. While ISPs complied with the orders and the Israel chapter of the Internet Society brought a petition against the district chief, in the interests of Israeli web users and the general public.
The Israeli Criminal Law 5737-1977 provides that arranging and conducting of gambling is illegal and a criminal offence. Section 229 of the Law permits the District Chief to order the closure of any illegal gaming, lottery, or gambling venue.
Judge Michal Rubenstein held that the free flow of information on the Internet and its accessibility to people worldwide is crucial to exercising the constitutional right of access to information.
The Internet Society is committed to ensuring the continuation of an open, global and accessible Internet, which can serve as an instrumental tool in sustaining people’s aspirations for freedom and social development.
The Court acknowledged that certain information on the Internet may have no or negative social value. However, such information was held to be information within the ambit of protection of the freedom of expression.
The Internet Society views the Internet as an enabler for the realization of a wide range of Human Rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to association.