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Goodbye, Paypal

Paypal bans WikiLeaks just before midnight Friday. WikiLeaks claims it was the result of US government pressure. I will no longer do business with Paypal.

UPDATE: Reporters Without Borders explains why it is terribly wrong what is being done to WikiLeaks, even if you disagree with what WikiLeaks is doing.

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12 Comments

  1. JH wrote:

    Kudos! I wonder which pressure will be heavier – their customers’ or the government’s?

    (For the record, Paypal is owned by eBay)

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yes, that is why I mentioned eBay to them. How much fraudulent and illegal behavior do you think has occurred on eBay?

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink
  3. Dan wrote:

    This is why a quasi-monopoly like PayPal’s is dangerous.

    In other news: I have hardly ever heard anything good about PayPal.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  4. No u wrote:

    I dont know how I feel about this to be honest. I agree with you on your points…on the other side I dont like what wikileaks is doing and I feel it should stop…on the other side if the US and team doesnt want to be embarrassed by whats revealed, dont do embarrassing things…

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    I think it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t like what WikiLeaks is doing. As I said, they have not even been charged with a crime, let alone convicted. It is a very dangerous precedent when the government can unilaterally get someone kicked off their hosting provider, get their DNS cancelled, and convince businesses to ban them, with no legal recourse. We have reasonably clear legal precedent (from the Pentagon papers) that the media can publish information, even if it was originally obtained illegally. At the time, the government felt the same way about Daniel Ellsberg as it does now about Julian Assange, but now, years later, most people think that it was good that the Pentagon papers were published, and they helped save lives by ending the Vietnam war.

    Besides, the New York Times is also publishing large excerpts of the WikiLeaks cables, as are other major newspapers around the world. How would you feel if the US government decided to kick the Times off the internet? Or the Guardian, which is also publishing major excerpts?

    One last point in defense of WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks did redact things that the US government requested not be published (via the NY Times), so they are not acting totally irresponsibly.

    I am not 100% in favor of WikiLeaks, but what Paypal is doing is 100% wrong.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  6. Fact Geek wrote:

    Here is my “chat” to cancel my PayPal account on December 4:

    Sarah – PayPal :
    Hi. I’m Sarah, PayPal’s automated customer support assistant.
    How can I help you today?

    You :
    How do I close my PayPal account?

    Sarah – PayPal :
    What type of PayPal account would you like to close:
    -Student
    -Business
    -Premier
    -Personal

    You :
    Personal

    Sarah – PayPal :
    Before I help you close your account, could you tell me why you’d like to close it?

    You :
    Because PayPal shut out Wikileaks, while still facilitating payments for other media which also publish leaked material from confidential sources — like all mainstream newspapers and magazines and book authors.

    Sarah – PayPal :
    I’m afraid I didn’t understand your question. Can you ask it more simply?

    You :
    I didn’t ask a question. I answered your question, “could you tell me why you’d like to close it?”
    Sarah – PayPal :
    Thank you for providing a reason. We’re sorry that you’ve chosen to close your account. You can close your account by clicking this link. You may need to login to see it.

    By the way, if you have a positive balance, you’ll need to withdraw your money before you close your account. Please remember there are no maintenance fees to keep an account open, and that when you close it all your incomplete and scheduled transactions will be canceled.

    Note: If your account is limited, you might not be able to close your account until the limited is resolved.

    Before we continue, was the information I gave you helpful?
    [Option 1] -Yes, this was helpful
    [Option 2] -No, this was not helpful

    You :
    Please tell me how to close my PayPal account.

    Sarah – PayPal :
    Just to be sure, are you interested in:
    -Removing a bank account
    -Closing your PayPal account

    You :
    Closing your PayPal account

    Sarah – PayPal :
    What type of PayPal account would you like to close:
    -Student
    -Business
    -Premier
    -Personal

    You :
    Personal

    Sarah – PayPal :
    I’m about to repeat the same information. You can either see that information again or ask me a new question.

    You :
    see that information again

    Sarah – PayPal :
    We’re sorry that you’ve chosen to close your account. You can close your account by clicking this link. You may need to login to see it.

    By the way, if you have a positive balance, you’ll need to withdraw your money before you close your account. Please remember there are no maintenance fees to keep an account open, and that when you close it all your incomplete and scheduled transactions will be canceled.

    Note: If your account is limited, you might not be able to close your account until the limited is resolved. I’m right here if you have any other questions.

    Sarah – PayPal :
    The page is opening in another window. You may need to log in to see it.
    I’m right here if you have any other questions.

    Sarah – PayPal :
    I’m opening a page which will allow you to send a copy of our conversation.

    ———–
    From the “Close your account page”:

    [Why do you want to close your account?]

    Header: PayPal behaved reprehensibly and inconsistently by closing Wikileaks account.

    [Comments]

    Body: PayPal facilitates payments for many products which publish confidential material “leaked” to the writer, editor, or publisher by confidential sources. Examples: Books, newspapers, magazines, broadcast media.

    If PayPal thinks it is illegal for Wikileaks to publish leaked material, it should also think that virtually all mainstream media also illegally publish leaked material. The difference is the scale, not PayPal’s perception that Wikileaks did something more illegal than, say, the New York Times which published the Pentagon Papers, and nearly every other news publication which publishes “illegally” leaked photos, information about public figures, documents, etc.

    If PayPal decides to stop facilitating the purchase of all media which publish illegally leaked material, I will happily ask to reinstate my PayPal account. Alternatively, if PayPal decides to start facilitating donations to Wikileaks again, I will also ask to reinstate my account.

    Play fair.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink
  7. No u wrote:

    I know what your saying Iron Knee, and like I said, I’m undecided how to feel, but to play devils advocate, if we treated the USA as a person, we can see the story a bit different. Wikileaks is exposing personal information of the US. How would you like it if they got ahold of your information and exposed your SSS, Birthdate, when you first had sex, with who, where. What was your first car, color, make, what you paid, etc. The story is suddenly very different.

    In the end though…what does it matter, we can argue for and against it all day long, we’ll just end up with something like the healthcare or bailout debates…lots of complaining and nothing done about it.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    The media does that kind of thing all the time with celebrities and nobody kicks them off the internet.

    And if they actually violate someone’s privacy, they get sued. It is called the rule of law.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 10:09 am | Permalink
  9. No u wrote:

    I couldnt tell you any celebrities SSS number, or their first sexual experience. All celeb private information is given up by them or their family. Celeb’s allow themselves to be public and when they want things to be private, for the most part they are, thats why you don’t hear much about some and loads about others.

    Besides, information about celebs isnt damaging to them, like I said, if someone got hold of their SSS, that site would be shut down immediatly. Public information and private information is two different worlds.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
  10. patriotsgt wrote:

    IK and No U – interesting dialogue. Here are my observations. First, wiki saying the gov forced paypal to cancel them doesn’t make it true. Second, if it is true then the AG needs to arrest whoever ordered/persuaded paypal to cut them off in defense of the constitution. Thirdly, if paypal made the business decision to discontinue its relationship with wiki then I support their decision as much as I support your decision IK to discontinue your paypal relationship.

    Monday, December 6, 2010 at 6:52 am | Permalink
  11. Mattia wrote:

    I have just removed my account too :)

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  12. JH wrote:

    PGT:

    “PayPal VP On Blocking WikiLeaks: State Department Said It Was Illegal”

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/08/paypal-wikileaks/

    While the State Department did not order them to suspect WL’s account, they did suspend it due to what they perceived to be the State Department’s conclusion that WL was illegal. From the article:

    “Bedier also said that the State Department deemed WikiLeaks illegal on November 27th, a statement that was not followed up on by Yiannopoulos. It is still unclear what exact US laws WikiLeaks is breaking.”

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 8:35 am | Permalink

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