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WikiLeaks Donations By Visa Ruled OK In Iceland 55

angry tapir writes "The three-year blockade against donations to WikiLeaks may have just been chiseled away, in Iceland, by a ruling handed down by the European country's Supreme Court. The verdict says that the Visa subcontractor Valitor had unlawfully terminated its contract with WikiLeaks' donation processor, DataCell, and must re-open the processing of donations to the whistle-blowing site within 15 days or else face a fine of ISK800,000, or US$6,830, per day."
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WikiLeaks Donations By Visa Ruled OK In Iceland

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  • Damage is done (Score:5, Interesting)

    by magic maverick ( 2615475 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @05:54AM (#43554075) Homepage Journal

    But the damage is already largely done. When the service was terminated, there was a lot of publicity around Wikileaks, and a lot of people wanting to donate. By preventing them from donating at that time, Visa & Mastercard (etc.) basically prevented this money from ever reaching Wikileaks. Even if now, Valitor will process Visa donations, most of the people who were going to donate, probably won't. Without the media, people won't think about Wikileaks. They won't realize that they can now donate (because this court decision will not be widely publicized). Etc.

    The article says that 95% of Wikileaks' income was cut by the actions of Visa, Mastercard, Paypal etc. Maybe Wikileaks should also sue for lost income, arguing that the percentage of Visa donations would have remained at the same level from 2010 through to now. They probably wouldn't win, but it would be funny.

    • True BUT (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @06:09AM (#43554113) Journal

      You are absolutely 100% correct and this is a common tactic by those who seek to oppress, not to shut you up perso but just to silence you long enough for attention to drift away. You can see an excellent example by weasel company Shell who around the Brent Spar debacle diverted attention away from Greenpeace claim there was till oil aboard the to be sunk platform by claiming that there was less oil on board then Greenpeace claimed, bought reporters like Witteman immidiatly fell for it. Quite by accident (caused by lucrative public speaking contracts) forgetting that Shell had claimed there was NO oil left on board. No oil mean zero liters but the bought press then went into attack mode on Greenpeace because Greenpeace couldn't exactly measure how many thousands of liters were left on board. By the time more accurate measurements had been taken, attention had drifted.

      BUT judgments such as this make it harder to pull the same thing again next time. No it won't fix things in the past but it might fix the future.

      Oh and this bit did reach the news, so wikileaks is in the news again. And everyone now has proof that Visa, Mastercard and Paypal acted against the law. That means something to. Not much but the longest journey starts with a single step, and a LOT of steps after that. Nothing worth fighting for was every won easily.

    • Bitcoins (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 26, 2013 @06:40AM (#43554223)

      And yet, in my mind, part of the rise of a pure virtual currency like Bitcoin is directly related to the action the US took.

      It seems we need a payment method that doesn't involve SWIFT (EU handed Swift data to USA for data mining) and credit cards (US data mining our credit card transactions), and Western Union (US leaned on them, they handed over the transaction data).

      Bitcoin is it, and the game of closing a bank account trying to stop conversions from Bitcoin to dollars will only slow it slightly.

      • Interesting point
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Your mind is quite evidently wrong. Have you perhaps suffered brain damage from sleeping in a room overheated by GPUs mining?

      • Yes, this is one of the reasons that I support and encourage the use of Bitcoins as an alternative currency. I can't be stopped from donating to Wikileaks by a third party, unless they use force (i.e. are the government or another group of thugs). In fact I have donated bitcoins to Wikileaks. I hope they made good use of them.

    • But the damage is already largely done. When the service was terminated, there was a lot of publicity around Wikileaks, and a lot of people wanting to donate.

      I'm not sure how you reach that conclusion.
      Wikileaks is just one more document dump away from being back in the news for another few 24 hour cycles.

      The information Wikileaks provides to the public is its own advertisement.

  • Good news! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @05:55AM (#43554077)

    All those rich Icelanders can now donate! Oh wait...

    • Actually, they're doing better and better since they told the criminal banking cartel to fuck off... (Perhaps if the Greeks, Cypriots, Portuguese and Spanish were descended from Vikings, they'd have some bigger balls, too...) :p
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You can pretend that is why, but you would be wrong.

        While their decision was fine, and better in many senses, it is not the reason for their relative comeback. The fact is they have their own currency, which can appropriately float to better reflect (and repair) the conditions.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Which also explains why we're doing so well here in the UK.

          Except we're not. We've narrowly avoided our first ever triple-dip recession, but the economy is still flat-lining. Perhaps the condition for recovery was having your own currency AND telling the banks to fuck off.

    • "All those rich Icelanders can now donate! Oh wait..."

      They actually do! Both of them.

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @05:56AM (#43554083)

    All this time I thought Isk was some sort of space money for Eve Online. Icelandic Kroner? I am an idiot.

  • 800k ISK? Man, that's pocket change. Go shoot belt rats for a few minutes and you'll make that back easy.

    Where's "Europe" anyhow? Can't find it on the map. Sounds like it should be part of Gallente space, though...

    (lol, burning karma)

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @06:21AM (#43554161) Homepage Journal

    because I vaguely remember this exact same story from few days back.. so don't repost it until they process.

  • Can they say no? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @07:05AM (#43554309)
    It is my understanding that Valitor is a private company. Can they simply refuse to process transactions in Iceland "taking my ball and going home" style?
    • by RaceProUK ( 1137575 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @07:40AM (#43554465)

      It is my understanding that Valitor is a private company. Can they simply refuse to process transactions in Iceland "taking my ball and going home" style?

      Of course they can; they did. Now they've been found guilty of unlawful contract termination.

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      After a decision of that level, highly unlikely but possible. The fine itself is not much, and as far as I know they can still appeal to ECJ if this is a matter of European rather then state law. But this does in fact seem to be state law matter, so wikileaks won. It's a bit of a phyrric victory at this point due to the fact that those who wanted to donated when it was needed were prevented from doing so. Wikileaks was essentially a target of a massive media hit campaign, followed by funds blockage to avoid

  • Seems like a tiny european countries laws actually trying to couterbalance almost totalitarian laws of a major ones.
  • won't they leak the Visa numbers of their donors? Otherwise, oh, the hypocrisy!

  • That's nothing. Sell one PLEX and you can keep paying that for a couple years... :p

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