PayPal Latest To Cut Off Wikileaks

from the political-pressure dept

Over the weekend, Paypal became the latest company to cut off Wikileaks' account, saying that it was a "terms of service" violation -- the same excuse Amazon gave. Of course, Wikileaks had been using Paypal for quite some time before this, so it seems pretty clear that the reasoning was (yet again) political pressure put on American companies, threatening them for working with Wikileaks. What's funny about all of this, of course, is that it's only going to serve to give Wikileaks more attention, and drive up demand for competing services to these US companies overseas. In an effort to "stop" access to information that is widely accessible, all the US is really doing is (a) promoting that information more while (b) harming the reputation of American companies.

Filed Under: terms of service, wikileaks
Companies: paypal, wikileaks

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  1. icon
    Lance (profile), 6 Dec 2010 @ 6:20am

    Perhaps unrelated...

    It is interesting to read the various remarks to this story. It seems that the majority here is quite willing to jump on the "bash the US/bash the government bandwagon", but I see very little in terms of reasonable statements. It is true that WikiLeaks has done some good, with respects to opening up the flow of information about government secrets. But it is also true that governments sometimes have good reasons for not parading all of the information before the general public. Julian Assange seems to have decided that he is the ultimate arbiter of the those decisions.

    Now, as to whether PayPal, Amazon, or any other corporation, should respond to the pressure of governments or boycotts; the answer is not as easy as it might sound. For profit corporations (such as PayPal and Amazon) are created with specific purpose, and it isn't to be watchdogs over the rights of a group that decides it wants to take on the governments of the world. When Amazon and PayPal point to their terms of service, and then point out that some of what WikiLeaks is doing is prohibited by the laws where those companies are operating, what do you expect them to do? Do you expect them to tell their shareholders, "Tough luck gang. We're going to expose you to the risk of massive potential losses so that we can support this group that is acting criminally"? If they do that then they become liable for lawsuits coming from the other direction.

    Finally, let's start applying a label to Julian Assange that fits, the new 007 super-villan. Whether he is guilty of rape or sexual misconduct in Sweden, or elsewhere, you have to admit his latest statements make him sound like Ernst Blofeld of SPECTRE. His threats regarding the "insurance file" and how he will release the password for it, should anything happen to him or WikiLeaks, are only just shy of outright attempted extortion. I can easily picture him sitting in a London flat, cat on his lap, giving out that wonderfully evil laugh as he typed up that missive.

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