Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck The Courts The Internet

WikiLeaks To Sue Visa/MasterCard 347

Posted by Soulskill
from the ongoing-bad-pr:-priceless dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After six months of financial blockade by Visa and MasterCard, during which they claim to have lost over $15,000,000 in donations, WikiLeaks and Datacell are filing a complaint against the two financial giants, with plans to litigate should the block not be lifted. WikiLeaks stated, 'On June 9th the law firms Bender von Haller Dragested in Denmark and Reykjavik Law Firm in Iceland acting on behalf of DataCell and WikiLeaks told the companies that if the blockade is not removed they will be litigated in Denmark and a request for prosecution will be filed with the EU Commission.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

WikiLeaks To Sue Visa/MasterCard

Comments Filter:
  • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @09:40AM (#36641050)

    Visa and Mastercard are payment processors, it's not their place to decide where one can and can't buy things and it's not their place to make moral decisions on behalf of their clients. Given how there are only 4 major options and that American Express and Discover have much smaller networks and are frequently not accepted, I can't see how Visa and Mastercard can possibly be allowed to continue these shenanigans.

    • by HBI (604924)

      I'd be shocked if money laundering wasn't already in play here. That'll be the justification.

      Wikileaks is an intelligence agency, by Assange's own admission a few years back. What did they expect? Anything other than being crushed and jailed?

      The money is never coming.

    • by zill (1690130)

      it's not their place to decide where one can and can't buy things and it's not their place to make moral decisions on behalf of their clients

      And it's not your place to decide who Visa and Mastercard choose to do business with.
       
      Companies can freely choose who they conduct business with*, just as you and I can freely choose who to associate (and not associate) with.

      *as long as they are not discriminating against a particular group of people

    • by KiloByte (825081) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:00AM (#36641142)

      Visa and Mastercard are one of worst promoters of censorship. For example, look at this [exiern.com] case of outrageous religious censorship. Exiern is a webcomic with a PGish level of violence and some nudity. This is enough for an outright ban from the big three (Visa, Mastercard, PayPal), so the author was forced to split it into two sites, one with any violence, one with any nudity. Then they came up with another outlandish rule: that "mythical characters" cannot be displayed with any nudity. Yes, I'm not making it up.

      • MasterCard etc. are not government agencies. They are privately owned companies. They are free to do anything they want to that is not in violation of the law including not processing payments to and from organizations that they do not wish to for ANY reason unless it violates some anti-discrimination or other law.

        MC/Visa etc. don't discriminate against pornography per se. It is perfectly possible to use your MasterCard to purchase this sort of stuff.

        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          as a corporation they operate under a corporate charter, which makes them direct subjects of the state.

          IMO if they want to give up the legal protecitons of incorporation they should be free to do as they wish, but when they get legal protection for their shareholders they consent to unlimited regulation
        • They are privately owned companies. They are free to do anything they want to that is not in violation of the law including not processing payments to and from organizations that they do not wish to for ANY reason unless it violates some anti-discrimination or other law.

          I think you are wrong. In Europe companies, especially in the banking and payment sector, cannot just refuse doing business for ANY reason or cancel their contracts as they like. Besides, your indemnification clause makes the claim pointless because Visa/Mastercards have almost with 100% certainty violated European laws when refusing to process payments for Wikileaks. This is particularly so, because people in Europe do not generally have the choice of which kind of credit card they get and VISA/Mastercard

      • What's that? The Furry Rule?

    • by Co0Ps (1539395)

      Although I mostly agree with you I think their acting is understandable. Private companies should be free to chose what other companies and organizations they like to do business with. The real problem here as I see it is that the current digital monetary system depends on a handful of big players which means they can effectively choke the ability for anyone to send or receive money. In other words the current digital monetary system is broken.

      Imagine that paper money was printed by handful of bug private

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      They are a private company and not the government, so of course they can decide who they do business with, and who they dont.

      • by briareus (195464)

        No, they cannot. They are not "just private companies". They are part of the financial backbone and cannot simply pick and choose whose payments get processed and whose do not on this type of basis. View the world as black and white only and you miss the important details.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      Speaking of deciding what one can buy, how is PayPal getting away with this [paypal.com]?

      You may not use the PayPal service for activities that: [...] relate to sales of (a) narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances or other products that present a risk to consumer safety, (b) drug paraphernalia, (c) items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity, (d) items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime, (e) items that are co

      • by pcolaman (1208838)

        Of course they can get away with this. As a private company, they are entitled to set their own policies on what they will/won't let their customers buy using their services. There is nothing legally that can prevent them from doing so.

        • what's the line, then, between the FUNDAMENTAL infrastructure such as 'the big 2' (mc/visa) and 'just companies trying to stay in business'?

          come on. there's a world of diff here between some guy selling his used card from his driveway vs the 2 (only) plastic money companies in the world.

          ignore the elephant in the room, much?

          if mc/visa say no to a business, that business is essentially done for. that's too much power.

      • by mysidia (191772) *

        It's not only blocking some customers, but blocking whole industries from its service and essentially trying to enforce morals via its payment service.

        Well, I think many of these are for their own protection, take h for example: (h) ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories, or (i) ,certain weapons or knives regulated under applicable law

        If they allow ammunition/firearm transactions to be processed, there is a fact that firearms are often used in the commission of crimes -- that

    • Mastercard and Visa are not even independent of one another. Most larger banks (at least here in Europe) issue - and earn money from - both cards. This means that the banks do not actually want to cards to compete with each other. So Mastercard and Visa put on a show of competing, but in reality are quite happy to just divide the market between themselves, and keep any other payment method from getting to big.

      The result is that Mastercard and Visa often act in lockstep - just as they have done in the case o

  • Just WOW (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by lennier1 (264730)

    Sounds like they're using the playbook of a MAFIAA lawyer (for every dollar of possible revenue demand at least twenty thousand in damages),

    Then again, if people donate 16 million bucks to Wikipedia just to get rid of that teaser image of Jimmy Wales' face this might not be that far off after all.

    • by Lifyre (960576)

      I think either they have a legitimate reason to think $15 million is a realistic number (in the grand scheme it isn't that large) or they are going with the start big to get their attention and settle for much less and the removal of the block.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:30AM (#36641294)

    The fact here is:
    Someone in the US Government told Visa and Mastercard to get rid of this customer.
    Visa and Mastercard get in touch with Datacells acquirer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acquirer) and ask if this customer really is what it says it is, and if due dilligence is done. Actually, Visa and Mastercard demands that the acquirer visit every new customer, to verify that they really are a restaurant etc (which they obviously almost never do).
    Datacell has told their acquirer that they accept payments for "datahosting" or something like that, but in fact their only business is collecting donations for Wikileaks. This is violation according to visa and mastercard rules. So datacell/wikileaks fucked up, easy as that. Now no other acquirer dear to accept them as a customer :)

    • by PPH (736903)

      Datacell has told their acquirer that they accept payments for "datahosting" or something like that,

      You assume this, or you know this to be a fact? Its possible that Datacell gave an accurate description of their services.

      Actually, Visa and Mastercard demands that the acquirer visit every new customer, to verify that they really are a restaurant etc (which they obviously almost never do).

      So the acquirer 'fucked up'. That may make them liable for part of the damages.

      Someone in the US Government told Visa and Mastercard to get rid of this customer.

      This is probably true. But the subsequent actions of VISA/MC without proper subpoenas or injunctions may place them afoul of laws governing their fiduciary [wikipedia.org] relationship.

  • Should have used Bitcoin. No worry there. Right? Right?

  • The CC companies' lawyers will crush Wikileaks into the ground, with 99% certainty. They're just not big enough to get justice here.

  • by lexsird (1208192) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @01:43PM (#36642372)

    Freedom my fat ass. Indeed, the terrorist shouldn't hate us for our freedoms anymore.

    Does anyone else find it hard to believe that our Constitution matters one fucking iota anymore? Wikileaks is just what our Constitution was written for. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The fact that Wikileads isn't based in NY should be our first major embarrassment. Isn't it sad that a whistle blower outfit like Wikileaks has to try to HIDE FROM THE US's long arm in European countries? Isn't it just a howling joke that in order for them to be free, they need to operate where corporations haven't been able to crush them with their puppet governments?

    Now we get to watch the British Government show just how puppet they are too. Britain has become so Orwellian it's creeping me out. I couldn't live there, I would have to make a hobby out of destroying every CC camera I seen. The logistics are impossible for such a task for one person, so I would either go mad....or....I would organize resistance, and make a movement out of it to take them all out. It would need a theme, Guy Fawkes would be perfect for it, run around in those masks taking out CC cameras. It could be stylish! Recruit hot women, first order of business for any movement. Image is everything. Revolution is chick this season, no?

    No? Ok, I will just change my sig for now.

  • by superwiz (655733) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @04:26PM (#36643304) Journal
    On the one hand, I think Visa should have every right to deny service and access to their private network. It's their network. You shouldn't have any more rights to access it than you have rights to access my own home network. On the hand, I think it's absurd that we are going after someone who is clearly engaged in a journalist effort simply because we don't like how much information he was able to obtain. All attempts to label him anything but a journalist are disingenuous. The only reasonable solution I can come with would not be on his side. He should come to the US and sue here. Of course, he'd be forced to stand trial. As well he should. And we would all benefit from his victory in court. The principle that a journalist has a right to publish anything he knows apparently needs to be reaffirmed in the current day and age.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @01:36AM (#36645160)
    The USA has managed to stop payment processors from handling payments to gaming and poker sites. If they can do this then they can stop donations to Wikileaks and make it stick.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

Working...