The pressure continues to find ways to cut off support and access to WikiLeaks material. PalPal was the latest company to move against Wikileaks by cutting off the ability of people to make donations to support the whistleblower disclosures. The company waited until Friday (when coverage would be reduced) to make the move.
PayPal insists that WikiLeaks violated its acceptable use policy, “which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.” What I fail to understand is how PayPal can be used to support other journalistic and whistleblower organizations under this standard. The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and other media groups routinely publish classified material. Various whistleblower organizations use such material to disclose great government abuses. Under this standard, PayPal will assist the government in shutting off support for anyone using classified or leaked material to disclose wrongdoing.
How about books containing such information? Would that also go to pay for stolen or illegally obtained information? How about the collection of Pentagon Papers?
This comes after the acknowledgment of people like Joe Lieberman that they have been pressuring companies to block access of the public to the material.
43 thoughts on “Whose Pal Are You Anyway? Company Cuts Off Financial Support for Wikileaks Through PayPal”
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Wiki Hornet’s Nest
Posted on Dec 14, 2010
By Eugene Robinson
“… the wildly popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter took down the pages that Anonymous members had been using to coordinate their electronic warfare. This brings me, finally, to those unsettling questions about censorship and free speech.
When Iranian protesters were challenging the thuggish regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs last year, censors managed to shut down television coverage. But the world learned what was happening via Facebook and Twitter. Likewise, those Internet sites—Facebook has more than 500 million users worldwide, and Twitter an estimated 200 million—are important conduits for pro-democracy advocates in places such as China and Cuba.
So who gives executives of private companies the right to decide that some unapproved speech will be encouraged and some will be suppressed? Do we want the people who run Amazon, PayPal, Facebook, Twitter or perhaps even—shudder—Microsoft, Apple or Google making political decisions on our behalf?
For my part, I don’t think I do. It seems to me that especially as Internet firms reach near-monopoly status, we should be increasingly uncomfortable with them making political decisions of any kind—even those with which we might agree.
I don’t particularly enjoy defending Assange, WikiLeaks or a bunch of irresponsible hackers. But I don’t want the companies that regulate interaction and commerce on the Internet deciding whose views are acceptable and whose are not.
he “terms of service” agreement that should take precedence is the First Amendment.” end excerpt
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