PayPal Suspends WikiLeaks Account Yet Again; Freezes Assets

from the no-payments-allowed dept

Wikileaks is an incredibly useful and important site, but there are many (mainly in the government) who would prefer it go away. It's somewhat upsetting to find out that PayPal has (for the second time) frozen all of WikiLeaks' assets. Apparently, the last time this happened it took nearly six months to resolve. That seems problematic:
Paypal has as of 23rd of January 2010 frozen WikiLeaks assets. This is the second time that this happens. The last time we struggled for more than half a year to resolve this issue. By working with the respected and recognized German foundation Wau Holland Stiftung we tried to avoid this from happening again -- apparently without avail.
Update: Wikileaks has now removed this message from its website, so it appears that things have been resolved. I'm a bit confused, however, as to why Wikileaks continues to use PayPal given this issue.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:52am

    Rule #1: Paypal is not a bank, don't leave money there. When your money is there, it isn't an asset, it's potential income.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    JackSombra (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 2:34am

    Re:

    Cannot really argue with that as it is well known nor should Wikileaks as this is second time this has happened to them

    Many would like to see this as some government conspiracy but is more likely S.O.P by PayPal

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    black_patriot, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:34am

    Surely there are some Swiss banks that wouldn't ask questions that would be a better option than PayPal

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:50am

    Re:

    Uh, okay.

    Thanks for the weirdly timed tip, Anti-Mike. I'll keep that in mind when I have a legitimate band or cause and decide to ask for donations from my legitimately owned website that I sell my own legitimate copyrighted works that may be frozen by PayPal illegitimately.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 4:10am

    Re:

    It sounds like a regular bank would be far more suitable than using PayPal, or even a Swiss bank for that matter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    DS, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 4:11am

    Re:

    Swiss Banks really are not fans of Wikileaks, because you know, the leaks from banks who don't ask questions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Brad Eleven, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 4:55am

    re: Anti-Mike's advice

    He's not saying that PayPal shouldn't be used, only that money shouldn't be left there. Pick up your transfers in a timely manner, citizens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 5:27am

    Re:

    I'm sick and tired of the attempts to justify theft of others property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 5:29am

    Re: re: Anti-Mike's advice

    Yep, no harm no foul.
    No sense in even discussing it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 5:57am

    Any Financial Regulations Apply?

    Can PayPal do what they like? Are there no regulations that require them to follow any kind of due process?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Nicholas Overstreet (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:10am

    Re: Any Financial Regulations Apply?

    Paypal is not a federally insured bank, thus they do not have to play by federal banking laws. They play by their own rules, and is why any money I end up with in Paypal is immediately transferred out. A few years ago I had a nightmare experience where Paypal decided to freeze my account for an eBay auction which I had sold an item over $1k. There was nothing wrong with the transaction other then Paypal wanting proof I had sold what I said I had in the auction. It seemed very odd that Paypal would step in on it's own accord with no issues from either party and just freeze an account like that, but that is what they did, and since then I have never trusted them with my money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Vincent Clement, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:14am

    I'm surprised that Mike even bothered to post this as there is very little information. Mike's link takes you to Slashdot which takes you to the WikiLeaks website.

    On the WikiLeaks website there is this statement:

    "To concentrate on raising the funds necessary to keep us alive into 2010, we have reluctantly suspended all other operations, until at least Jan 18."

    Sounds to me that WikiLeaks was in some financial problems before PayPal took action.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Vincent Clement, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:15am

    Re: Any Financial Regulations Apply?

    It's called a contract and you agree to it when you sign up for an account.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:18am

    Re:

    I'm surprised that Mike even bothered to post this as there is very little information. Mike's link takes you to Slashdot which takes you to the WikiLeaks website.

    The message used to be on WikiLeaks itself, but appears to have been removed, so perhaps things are resolved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Any Financial Regulations Apply?

    If it quacks like a Duck, walks like a Duck and swims like a duck....

    Paypal issues VISA cards. Paypal takes money and transfers money as a service. At what point do they do enough things banks do to be considered a bank?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    Yeah, the message was up for most of the weekend. Hopefully it's resolved.

    But as you point out, they still need money! Give now!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    mdmadph (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:41am

    Re:

    I think a lot to do with why Wikileaks continues to use Paypal is because a lot of stuff you can do there is anonymous, which wouldn't be the case with a regular banks.

    I imagine a lot of people who do business with Wikileaks are the kind of people who don't want to be known.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re:

    The message used to be on WikiLeaks itself, but appears to have been removed
    So are wikileaks censoring themselves?????

    (Get the multiple layers or irony!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Chris, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 7:06am

    Fool Me Once

    After the first time I would have thought WikiLeaks would have learned to not leave their money with PayPal or even drop them for another service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    So Why Did PayPal Freeze WikiLeaks???

    First, PayPal is an abomination.

    Second, A quick review of various underlying articles did not explicitly disclose why PayPal took the action it did. For example "The last time we struggled for more than half a year to resolve this issue.". But this "issue" was never explained. So what is (was) the issue??????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    If I understand correctly, the problem is that if you are a merchant, PayPal disburses the funds paid to you once per quarter. You have have to "leave your money there" in between those payments. There is no mechanism to withdraw the funds on a different schedule.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    interval, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    I avoid paypal whenever I can. Unfortunately, since it appears to serve as a cheap proxy for credit card services, a lot of online vendors use it. Too bad. I think twice before pressing that "Process Order" button when making an online purchase that requires me to use paypal. As an aside, paypal strikes me as being run by Russian Mafia who really want to get into legitimate business. Just my impression.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    killing lawyers and actors is great ..try it, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:00am

    now how do they pay for the seedboxes

    and suddenly negative on PayPal?
    look hte real reason is some govt ass made noise a while back remember about wiki leaks?

    now it takes time for the govt to move on you and guess what
    they went for wiki leaks money

    yup no story hear just wiki leaks should have more then one means to get and receive donations.

    my bet hear is that its a multi pronged approach again and an attack to limit peoples freedoms again by obscurity

    the mpaa and riaa won't be satisfied people until they actually start causing people to rise up in revolution
    just remember what the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy said

    "and when the revolution came the lawyers were the first to go", i'll add then the actors and musicians that support the lawyer model.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    JE Bailey, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:05am

    Re:

    Uhmm. Pay Pal is a registered Bank that operates out of Luxemburg, at least for Europe. To be fair it doesn't have Bank status in the US, not the last time I checked anyway.But from what I understand wikileaks is a European based organization.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    mariush (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:18am

    trust...

    I think a lot of people are reluctant to enter their credit card details to any site but are less reluctant to use Paypal and they trust it...

    So it doesn't help much to choose another service instead of Paypal, people will just be reluctant to use it and will ask for a Paypal account to donate to.

    In my case, often it's just easier to use Paypal because I don't feel like searching through my pants for my credit card, type the number and verification code and so on - it's faster on Paypal.

    However, I made it a habit not to have more than 50$ on my Paypal account, just in case it's hacked or limited and so on. I get my wage on Paypal and withdraw it the next day... The 20-25$ they take as processing fees for receiving about 1000$ is less than the fee my bank takes for processing a check and it doesn't take 4 weeks to clear so it's worth the risk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re:

    Incorrect. You can have the money delivered to your bank via electronic transfer (takes 1 week, costs $1), request a check (takes 2 weeks, costs $1), or you can use the debit card they send you to remove funds via ATM.

    The only 'wait' you might have as a merchant is the lag time between one bank confirming the transfer of funds to your account is valid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    neil, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    Re: trust...

    your bank charges you over $25 to clear a check? where are you located in the world my bank does it for free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    Re: So Why Did PayPal Freeze WikiLeaks???

    While I cannot comment directly on this case, I know that PayPal is very quick to close down accounts that they feel are being used for illegal activities. They don't do notification or anything like that, they just lock up the account and tell you to pound sand.

    Paypal is not a place to leave your money, IMHO.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Spanky, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    re

    With all the shit that's come down concerning Paypal, i have no idea why anyone still uses them. How many ways do you have to show you're corrupt before before people stop doing business with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: So Why Did PayPal Freeze WikiLeaks???

    When I last(years ago)looked at PayPal's Terms-of-Service it became readily apparent that their supposed "guarantee" for buyers was nothing but hot air. PayPal would only refund if they could get the money from the seller, hardly a guarantee that PayPal would actually step-in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Rich, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Re: re

    It's irrelevant if you can put the kibosh on the competition

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Ryan Diederich, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Any Financial Regulations Apply?

    I once had the same problem.

    A friend gave me a PSP to sell for him and I did. Thank god I transfered the money out real quick, as they froze my account the next day, and wanted proof of purchase for the PSP. Of course, I didnt have it. And they wanted all kinds of BS like they wanted me to fax them the proof. Thats garbage. I eventually gave up and made a 2nd account. Foolishness is all I can say.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    When Will a Business Die?

    Actually, this is a very good question that few people really consider. Look at the automotive industry, or even look at Sprint. They have been perpetually dying.

    We assume that the free-market responds fairly quickly to supply-demand, but the reality is that it does not.

    One of my pet concepts on this, consumers to a degree do business on a RANDOM basis. The also purchase things with minimal knowledge and for the sake of convenience.

    Considering that this country has 300,000,000+ people, quite a lot of business could do a profitable business base on the random selection of their products even with crappy products and poor customer service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Danny (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    another data point

    I emailed Wikileaks this morning about making a donation and inquired about a conduit other than PayPal. Received an email back from the wikileaks address this afternoon telling me that "Paypal has unfrozen our account as of this afternoon."

    They also said CC donation can be made at https://tipit.to/wikileaks.org

    They do not currently have US 501c3 status, but are working on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Rooker, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:40pm

    Better question: It's 2010 - why are there no competitors to Paypal? The model clearly works, so why isn't anyone else doing it? The closest thing to a competitor that I know of if Google Checkout and that's just for merchants.

    Paypal's policies and customer service are legendary for being horrible. Just imagine the tsunami of customers a competitor would see as people switched over to a similar company that doesn't suck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Joe (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re:

    I was thinking the same thing actually. For a service to be so notorious to not have any real competition is pretty appalling. I realize that it would be near (or completely) impossible to break in to the eBay payment business, but there's money to be made just handling credit transactions on the cheap...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 1:58am

    Re:

    Some people set up gunpal as an alternative to paypal. I think it was set up by people mad at paypal not allowing people to buy legal firearms ACCESSORIES (even springs, screws, oil, etc.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Leak, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 4:08am

    Re: Re:

    I would have though so too, which makes it strange that wikileaks seem so glib about hotlinking images on third-party websites, effectively web-bugging their own pages. This week it's the tipit.to thermometer, last week the paypal image was (bizzarely!) hot-linked from a fishing supplies website. And the video preview image means that youtube (google) also get a complete record of wikileaks visitors! Way to protect people's privacy guys!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    James, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 6:17pm

    Merchant Account better than Paypal

    Hello, well I suggest you guys specially business owners to not to risk their money with paypal as I had issues too in past using paypal merchant services and than I start to sell my stuff via online store at http://www.activemerchant.com I suggest this to all business owners selling online and wanted to get rid of paypal merchant services as bcoz they hold payments for no reason and sometims its very stressful!

    if seller is in high risk business like selling tobacco, pharmacy, time sharing, replica merchant account, travel merchant account services or any related field they better choose activemerchant.com ... thats their best bet!

    I hope in future there will be many companies providing ipsp solutions so paypal cannot be alone in market taking all control over all merchants located world wide.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    aria, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    will i get my check from paypal

    I requested a check from paypal one day before they limited my account. Will I get the check? They wants all kinds of info.

    Your help is much appreciated. Thank you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Daniel Gureghian, Dec 3rd, 2010 @ 5:34am

    Wikileaks/Paypal

    I closed my paypal account today leaving information on why i do that: "I want to be responsible for the target i send money to. I do not want to leave paypal decide for me if i can or not be a contributor to wikileaks."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    They continue to utilize numerous services they expect may drop them due to political pressure - for exactly that reason; When these companies cave to political pressure from those in office, it gives wikileaks incredible free publicity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    tmxseven, Dec 4th, 2010 @ 10:11am

    PayPal is going down!

    WOW, that's just great PayPal! You're going down so badly! Your user list will drop as fast as water flows! I just closed my account!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    David, Dec 4th, 2010 @ 8:06pm

    Boo, paypal

    Just cancelled my 7+yr-old Paypal account today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Jonatan, Dec 5th, 2010 @ 1:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Holy ****
    1 week for a transfer!? Thankfully, in Europe at least I have at most 24hr wait for transfers and no-one uses cheques anymore. We use plastic cards that magically transfer our money immediately - and they are usable virtually everywhere...

    Why do Americans put up with such lousy bank service? I mean, there should be a better provider somewhere in the US!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Bah, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:49am

    I'd like to make Assange my very own personal hero but while everyone is writing him checks and financing his lawyers and such, the GI kid that leaked the cables out to Assange is rotting away in jail. Who's the real hero behind this whole story? No one's writting checks to that guy or trying to bust him out of jail, he was just completely forgotten and overshadowed by Assange's figure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anthony, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 5:38am

    Re:PayPal Suspends WikiLeaks Account Yet Again; Freezes Assets

    Never put off what you can do today until tomorrow.
    cheap nfl jerseys
    The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today!Believe in yourself.
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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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