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The Almighty Buck The Courts The Internet

WikiLeaks To Sue Visa/MasterCard 347

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.'"
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WikiLeaks To Sue Visa/MasterCard

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  • 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.

  • by NeoMorphy ( 576507 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:20AM (#36641236)

    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.

    And it's not your place to decide who a company can and can't do business with, based on your own moral and political views. If you don't like the policies of the company,or feel that they are preventing you from paying for something you would like to, you have the right and opportunity to go pay through someone else.

    That's a very unfair statement, Visa/Mastercard are a duopoly and it's not like there are a glut of other international options. The easier you make it possible to make a money transaction, they more likely it is that it will happen. You can't expect everyone to jump through hoops, some will make it happen, others will say screw it, and then you've lost revenue from that group. Isn't that why some merchants offer multiple cards, to make it more likely that their potential customer can make the transaction.

    You can't have companies working to control the market and making everyone think that they are the best option and then when they finally control the market start using their power to control the world. There are anti-trust laws for that.

    Visa/Mastercard have already been through multiple anti-trust cases, they're showing serious signs of corruption. They seem to have no problem making transactions on behalf of nearly all porn sites(even the ones that are beyond my limit to handle) and even malware sites. I wouldn't be surprised if high profile scumbags/criminals used them. So, why did they suddenly decide to stop Wikileaks? If it was pressure from the U.S. government, then they shouldn't be used internationally, they should be U.S. only! If they did it because they're controlled by banks and those banks are desperate to stop Wikileaks, obviuosly those banks have something really dirty to hide. Which makes this lawsuit a potentially major win for Wikileaks! I would love to see the rational for what they did.

  • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:25AM (#36641264)

    And it's not your place to decide who a company can and can't do business with, based on your own moral and political views.

    Bzzt, very very wrong. Yes it is societies place to decide how a company can and cannot behave, including with whom they can and can't do business with... since the company is after all operating as a guest within the framework society has setup (not the other way around, as appears to be the thinking in the US).

    Visa/Mastercard have 98% market share in the EU - If they decide to stop payment processing for any political parties they don't like, or boycott any business competitor's of their "preferred partners", or as in this case try to stifle whistleblowers - it is societies legal (and moral) obligation to punish financially that companies bad behavior, at worst drive it right out of the market for not playing fair and by the rules. Unfortunately we here in the US we appear to let companies run society (by owning our politicians) however they prefer, which lead's to fanatical pro-corporate-runs the state ideas like this being often repeated: "it's not [societies] place to decide who a company can and can't do business with".

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:47AM (#36641380)

    look at history. EVERY single 'too big' company turned evil when it got large. too much power corrupts. duh! its simple human nature. we can't redefine it, best we can do is 'manage' it.

    I can tell you are a hardware capitalist but your kind is what caused this burn-down in the world's economy. our re-badged barons and aristocracy simply do NOT scale and are NOT fair for anyone but themselves. 'trickle down' never worked and never can work.

    yes, I want hard caps on companies so that there is more even-ness in the spread. you surely must see that putting all the world's power in the hands of so few is a bad thing??

    we gave your way a good long chance. it failed. admit it and lets invent a new variation, one that is more fair.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) * on Saturday July 02, 2011 @11:28AM (#36641642)

    Sure, if I opened a bar and posted a sign saying "Black people not allowed", everyone who is enraged should just stfu and go to a different bar instead. Right?

    Well, in fundamental principal, yes, you should be able to post the sign, as despicable and reprehensible as that is, because, while the government can regulate commerce, nobody can force you to do business, and there is a constitutionally protected right to be stupid.

    In practice, NO, because race and skin color are special. Better go find a better example; race and gender discrimination are so special and privileged that it is a 'special case', they are blocked/unacceptable in a manner more strongly than almost any other type of business decision.

    It's a sensitive issue, so no, you can't do that, not without serious reprisal from the public, including vigilantes, government officials, and your suppliers/vendors are likely to cut you off should they learn of this. Good luck running a bar, if the liquor companies refuse to ship you anything or allow you to place orders. See, this cuts both ways; if you use a "no black people" sign, your suppliers can send you a letter that says "No bars that refuse blacks may order products from us".
    Also, local government can discriminate against your bar in the same way -- by revoking the liquor license, so you better be in a place and doing a business that doesn't require any licenses to operate.

    Due to events from American history, there was racial discrimination in the past, it was widespread, and needed to be stopped for the good of society, so special laws (constitutional or not) were put into place to ban it.

    And public reaction has shifted strongly to the opposite position -- that is, to say public opinion is highly anti-discriminatory; even if you're not actually discriminatory, the mere perception that you are, can ruin you, better err on the side of affirmatively favoring black people in your bar, if you really want to be safe.

    I wouldn't recommend posting such an extreme sign, unless your place is a 'poster' or some sort of reenactment/museum, and the sign is showing what an actual storefront looked like lin the 1950s.

    There is a constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech, which enables you to post just about any sign you want on your private property, possibly subject to government regulations, when it is visible to the public, about what size/position/whether you can post any sign at all, but the content of messages you send are constitutionally protected, especially if they are intended to express a political message.

    In reality, however, you cannot do that, because (1) enraged people are likely to vandalize your business, even if the sign's sole purpose is to express a political message (and not to physically refuse anyone service)
    (2) the contents of the sign is likely to result in a disturbance of the peace, when people the sign applies to show up and are excessively angered
    (3) because of (1) and (2), you may be ordered to remove the sign.
    (4) Many rational people will boycott your business in protest
    (5) Even more rational people will avoid your business out of fear of a 'scene' occuring
    (6) As soon as your sign becomes publicly known, protestors are likely to line up with signs, and block access. You won't be able to sell any product, if any of your potential customers are harassed, or no parking/access is available
    (7) You may be sued, because under current commerce law, if you do business with the public, you cannot exclude on the basis of race, and your sign may result in de-facto exclusion even if you do not enforce that.
    (8) If you do actually attempt to enforce the sign and remove people based on race, you're likely to run into all sorts of trouble with the government, based on racial discrimination laws, you may have police officers dispatched to close your store or to forcibly remove signs

  • by toriver ( 11308 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:23PM (#36641954)

    But Libertarians are just corporate apologists for whom private business can do no wrong and the world is full of free enterprise throttled by evil governments. They refuse to acknowledge actual history where unchecked corporations seek monopolies, anti-competitive collaboration and suppression of customers as long as they grow large enough.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 02, 2011 @02:43PM (#36642760)

    Absolutely. As soon as the state gives your company certain protections, i.e. limited liability, your corporation should be forced to serve everyone equally. If you remain a sole trader or whatever it's called in other countries, then you can do what you like (within the bounds of other laws of course).

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