Earlier this year, we noted that a court in Iceland had ordered
Visa to start accepting donations to Wikileaks again. There's been some cat and mouse games as the various payment processors, under pressure from US officials, cut off the site a while back. The latest, however is that the Swedish Pirate Party itself has pressed charges against Swedish banks
for discriminating against Wikileaks.
The charges were filed eariler today with the Swedish Finansinspektionen, the authority which oversees bank licenses and abuse of position. This follows an earlier initiative from the Pirate Party to regulate credit card companies on the European level in order to deny them the ability to determine who gets to trade and who doesn’t.
“The blockade is a serious threat against the freedoms of opinion and expression”, says the Pirate Party’s Erik Lönroth, who has been preparing the formal charges. “It must not be up to the individual payment provider to determine which organizations are eligible for donations. At the same time, these charges will bring clarity as to whether the bank regulations of today are sufficient, or if regulations need to be tightened to protect freedom of expression.”
I don't quite understand Swedish law, so it's not entirely clear to me how the Swedish Pirate Party has standing in which to bring these charges. However, it looks like "charges" basically mean asking the relevant regulatory body to investigate whether the actions are legal. Given how much power a very small number of payment companies have over what can and cannot accept money online, it would be nice for there to be some rules against discrimination. Of course, an even better answer would be to create more services that can accept payment...