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. identicon
    Richard Kulawiec, 6 Dec 2010 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Perhaps unrelated...

    I'm not able to follow your line of reasoning here. At least in the US, which is the only legal system I'm even partially familiar with, there's a difference between criminal law and civil law.

    The former enumerates a list of offenses, like "arson" and "embezzlement" and so on, for which someone can be charged with a crime, prosecuted for it, perhaps convicted, and if so, sentenced. The latter deals with disagreements between parties that aren't criminal, e.g., contract disputes, patent arguments, and so on. And as far as I can tell, just about anybody can file a lawsuit against just about anyone at any time for just about anything. (Of course this doesn't mean that it's a good idea or that they'll be successful...but they can file.)

    So while sometimes the two are intertwined (e.g., someone who has been the victim of a crime may choose to sue the perpetrator, in a legal action separate from the government's prosecution of that same perpetrator) my best understanding is that they're different areas of law.

    Which means that (for example) I could file suit against Wikileaks today because I don't like their logo. Nothing stops me -- well, except common sense. But I'm not aware of any criminal charges pending against the organization at this time. It's not clear to me (and I'm not an attorney, this is not legal advice) that they've actually broken any (US) laws.

    If you can cite a US law, or for that matter, a law in any other country, that they've broken, I'd like to see that citation and the reasoning behind it.

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