Visa And Mastercard Ban Anonymizing VPNs… Just As They Allow Wikileaks
from the arbitrary dept
This is random. Just as Mastercard and Visa are allowing payments to Wikileaks again after a two year hiatus, those same two companies have started banning VPN providers. If you don’t recall, the credit card companies refused to process payments for Wikileaks, following significant pressure from US officials, even as they have no problem processing payments to hate groups like the KKK. After a long legal dispute, an Icelandic court ordered the credit card companies to start processing payments to Wikileaks again.
Given all of that, it’s quite bizarre that they’re now cutting off various VPN/anonymizing services, as it should be quite obvious that there are tremendous perfectly legal and reasonable uses of such services. Personally, I have two VPN services, which I use when I travel, or am working from outside the office to make sure my data is encrypted and safe. It’s really just good computing hygiene to use such a service. However, apparently, Mastercard and Visa would like everyone’s data to be exposed.
It now turns out that these policies have carried over to VPN providers and other anonymizing services. Before the weekend customers of the popular Swedish payment service provider Payson received an email stating that VPN services are no longer allowed to accept Visa and Mastercard payments due to a recent policy change.
“Payson has restrictions against anonymization (including VPN services). As a result Payson can unfortunately no longer give your customers the option to finance payments via their cards (VISA or MasterCard),” the email states, adding that they still accept bank transfers as deposits.
The new policy went into effect on Monday, leaving customers with a two-day window to find a solution.
At least one of the VPNs so impacted, iPredator, is apparently looking at its legal options. Given Wikileaks’ victory on a nearly identical issue, you’d think that the credit card companies would know better — but perhaps they think that the VPN providers won’t bother with a costly legal battle.