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WikiLeaks To Sue Visa/MasterCard

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the ongoing-bad-pr:-priceless dept.

The Almighty Buck 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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As well they should (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:As well they should (1, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 years ago | (#36641072)

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.

Re:As well they should (5, Insightful)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | about 3 years ago | (#36641098)

Well too bad, the law in the EU explicitly ask the companies to behave as the Grandparent poster explained.

Re:As well they should (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641124)

Basically the GP is half-right... It isn't our place to decide who a company is allowed to deny services, however on the flip-side the company does not have a say in who they can do business with.

E.g. Visa and MasterCard are perfectly free to say no to the customers EU law requires them to serve, and EU is perfectly free to keep those companies out of the EU market.

Re:As well they should (2)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | about 3 years ago | (#36641172)

That is the point, they can't have it both ways. Beside as far as I know, Wikileaks did not break any EU or even American law, so there is no 'illegal' activity for them to check against.

Re:As well they should (0, Flamebait)

Jiro (131519) | about 3 years ago | (#36641318)

The only reason you can say that Wikileaks didn't break any US law is that they're not located in the US and aren't under US jurisdiction. I'm pretty certain that if they were located in Iran and lobbing missiles at the US they wouldn't be breaking any law, either of the US or Iran. I'm also pretty sure that Visa and Mastercard wouldn't serve them under those circumstances even though their acts are perfectly legal.

Throwing electronic missiles instead of real missiles at the US shouldn't change it.

Re:As well they should (2)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | about 3 years ago | (#36641378)

Wrong metaphor my friend. A good one would be the Pentagon papers. If Visa/MC want to play that game, they can. But they have to suffer the consequences, and those consequences would be getting kicked out from the EU market. The US can do whatever it pleases them, but not Visa/MC.

Re:As well they should (0)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#36641414)

"The only reason you can say that Wikileaks didn't break any US law is that they're not located in the US and aren't under US jurisdiction."

So what you're saying is US laws should apply to the entire world?

Re:As well they should (3, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 3 years ago | (#36641552)

False. If they were "lobbing missiles" they would be guilty for a number of crimes, ranging from potential murder to war crimes.

In fact, Iran isn't "lobbing missiles" because it doesn't want a war. It doesn't have the economy or technology to survive one.

Re:As well they should (4, Insightful)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | about 3 years ago | (#36641106)

With an internet service provider, either the company should be liable for absolutely everything that passes through their network, and they should be free to allow and to block whatever they wish or they can claim "common carrier" status and waive liability, however they are required to allow everyone to use their network.

In my opinion the same should apply to financial institutions. Visa and MasterCard should be allowed to block payments if they like, but if they do discriminate then they should be held liable when they do let illegal transactions get processed.

Re:As well they should (0)

Lifyre (960576) | about 3 years ago | (#36641260)

+Insightful

Re:As well they should (1)

NeoMorphy (576507) | about 3 years ago | (#36641286)

I agree with you! I never thought of that.

I have heard something similar said about old dictionaries that are now in the public domain. If someone decides to edit/censor parts of it then they are responsible for the parts they don't censor. That's why it was presented in it's original unedited form.

Re:As well they should (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 years ago | (#36641440)

So anyways.... who a business chooses to do business with is a separate question from the contents of the transaction, so it's nothing like "Common Carrier". It's more like the question of.... WHO a phone company chooses to do business with. Well, that's easy, cell phone companies can refuse to provide service to anyone, for reasons as simple as a delinquent account on their credit report. If they determine you're a bad person, and they don't want to do business, they can close your account, and still be a common carrier -- because their choice to do business with you is separate from the actual data/voice content you sent/received.

With an internet service provider, either the company should be liable for absolutely everything that passes through their network, and they should be free to allow and to block whatever they wish or they can claim "common carrier" status and waive liability, however they are required to allow everyone to use their network.

ISPs are not legally common carriers.

ISPs are not liable for the contents of everything that passes through their network.

However, ISPs are free to allow and block traffic. ISPs can refuse to provide others access to their network based on criteria they define.
And ISPs can set rules and turn customers off if it is reported to the ISP that they are violated. For example, ISPs may choose to terminate users whose activities are abusive or constitute excessive usage.

And, frankly, I think this is a good situation. It allows ISPs to refuse to connect known spammers to their network, even when they apply for service. It allows ISPs to be picky about what networks they allow to peer with them; which improves ISP stability and financial conditions.
It allows ISPs to turn off spammers. It allows ISPs to remove hacked computers from their network, stop DoS abuse, and other activities that either unfairly disrupt a user's network connection, or that disrupt the ISP network.

If ISPs became "common carriers", or forced to take on liability the internet would likely collapse, because SPs could no longer afford to be in business.

Also, a business has a right to refuse service. Businesses commonly choose to do business with only the most profitable prospective customers, and setting a high price of service (and discounting favored customers) is a common way of accomplishing that, but businesses can also refuse service altogether, if the management has moral issues doing business with the customer, if doing business with the customer will cost them other business, or lead to other high costs, service is likely to be refused.

Re:As well they should (4, Insightful)

hansraj (458504) | about 3 years ago | (#36641112)

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?

OP did not suggest in any way that what VISA and Mastercard did was wrong because they did it to wikileaks. It makes a lot of sense to me to expect (maybe even require) companies not to pick moral sides. Let the people choose whether they want to donate to wikileaks, and let the court decide whether wikileaks should be allowed to receive donations.

Re:As well they should (-1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 years ago | (#36641154)

Wikileaks is not a person(well, Assange might think he IS Wikileaks), it is an organization. You can discriminate against people, but not organizations. This is not discrimination.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641338)

Totally incorrect. There's nothing in the definition of discrimination that restricts the word to people. It is commonly used to refer to discrimination against people but discrimination can be applied towards things as well. The object doesn't matter.

Re:As well they should (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 years ago | (#36641420)

Isn't it an NPO? And as such, a legal person?

Re:As well they should (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#36641178)

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?

That's probably not a good example, since for many people (Libertarians in general) you should in fact be able to discriminate.
http://www.libertarianfaq.org/index.php?title=What_is_the_libertarian_position_on_discrimination%3F [libertarianfaq.org]

Re:As well they should (0)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 3 years ago | (#36641576)

Just because there are many racists, or people with beliefs similar to those of racism in the world, doesn't mean that racism should be allowed.

P.S. I'm white.

Re:As well they should (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 years ago | (#36641480)

Bad example. Racial discrimination of this sort is forbidden by law.

Replace that with "Proper Dress Required", or simply "This Establishment May Refuse Service to Disruptive Patrons" and you are fine.

Re:As well they should (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 3 years ago | (#36641230)

these are not 'just companies'. they ARE the financial infrastructure, in very many ways.

the water company can't decide not to serve you. they can't ban you. this is essentially the same. once things are at this scale (bastardcard included) they HAVE to be impartial and offer services to all customers.

if they want to 'look inside' of the souls that are their customers, they'll have to start rejecting a lot more customers, then.

these guys are too large to be allowed to decide who can and who cannot exchange money in the world. yes, its almost to that level where a few control the world's flow of money. we all know it, so stop acting like its johnny's lemonaide stand on second street. this is the mainstream finance industry saying NO! and they simply should not have the right to say no to anyone.

or, maybe its time they all get broken up.

its also time we don't let things ever get to the point where things are 'too big to fail' or too big to be stopped or fought with. companies should NOT be allowed to just grow and grow. we tried that. it didn't work out. lets admit it and create a better model. (yeah, right, like those in control would entertain a revolution. in fact, THIS is what they are most afraid of. duh!)

Re:As well they should (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 years ago | (#36641340)

its also time we don't let things ever get to the point where things are 'too big to fail' or too big to be stopped or fought with. companies should NOT be allowed to just grow and grow.

Its starting to sound like you want it to be "too big to succeed" - punish success, screw the business owners over if they are too successful.

Re:As well they should (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:As well they should (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 3 years ago | (#36641388)

hardware? oops. meant hardcore (lol). well, that's the kind of typo you get on a tech site..

Re:As well they should (5, Interesting)

NeoMorphy (576507) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:As well they should (5, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 3 years ago | (#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".

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641278)

I don't understand why they refuse to at least give him the money stored in the accounts.

Re:As well they should (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 3 years ago | (#36641316)

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.

Uhhhh... I've seen local businesses have to stop taking one card or another when payment processors decide they shouldn't be processing payments for them. If all three of them decide a business should only accept cash, it will put them right out of business. It's not some goofy financial corporation's place to decide who I can and can't do business with, based on their moral and political posturing.

Re:As well they should (4, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#36641394)

"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."

Credit card companies have a monopoly, it's like the utility company shutting off your electricity and water because they don't agree with your political stance or moral views.

I'm glad they're suing, only reason Mastercard/Visa should stop accepting is if customers are complaining about fraud. If Mastercard/Visa stopped accepting Wikileaks what's next?

no (2)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#36641524)

its OUR place to decide what a company can do or not, who it can render services to or not, if that company is a practical monopoly.

you cant monopolize the lives of people, and still do whatever you will. period.

Re:As well they should (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 3 years ago | (#36641610)

Actually it is [collectively] our right to say this. Banking is a semi-regulated sector, where it's not possible for many businesses of different shapes and sizes to compete. Many of the larger financial institutions got to be large by agreeing to certain terms and conditions when they were permitted to buyout or merge with other companies. There are laws in every country which regulate how companies may do business. Your suggested approach won't work in sectors where only a few large companies govern the market, which is why regulations are in place.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641614)

No, but it is government's place to decide who a company can and can't do business with.

Re:As well they should (1)

HBI (604924) | about 3 years ago | (#36641076)

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.

Re:As well they should (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 3 years ago | (#36641148)

The money is never coming.

Maybe. But this doesn't means that we should made it easy for them.

Re:As well they should (1)

briareus (195464) | about 3 years ago | (#36641356)

Your assumption is justification? Brilliant...

Re:As well they should (0)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 3 years ago | (#36641092)

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.

Any company, including payment processors, have the right to not do business with companies that violate the law. They aren't making a moral decision but a legal one.

That is a separate issue from whether wikiLeaks is violating the law; and I would guess the lawsuit would hinge on that issue.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641116)

So its up to private companies now to decide wether or not another company is legal?

Re:As well they should (4, Insightful)

paziek (1329929) | about 3 years ago | (#36641128)

Well, AFAIK Wikileaks didn't break any law in EU. Its Visa and MasterCard that could possibly do that - at least in EU that is. If they want to operate in EU, they need to comply. They don't want to? Well, I'm sure some else will take over.

Re:As well they should (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641158)

It will be interesting to see how an international diplomatic incident will play out in EU courts. Wonder if the EU is ready to pay for it's own defense yet.

All these issues... since the money all runs through the US, I wonder if possibly the US anti-terrorism laws apply...

Gee, maybe the case is not as simple as it seems...

Re:As well they should (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641210)

Wikileaks has broken no US or EU laws. The politicians have bitched, but there have been no indictments because what they are doing is perfectly legal. None of the anti-terrorism laws apply. Any law that they pass in the future to make what they are doing illegal would be unconstitutional, and can't apply retroactively.

Re:As well they should (2)

Sique (173459) | about 3 years ago | (#36641258)

WikiLeaks is not accused in a court of law in the U.S. of anything right now, so it can claim to be a perfectly legal entity.
As long as that doesn't change, it's VISA and Mastercard, who are breaking the law. So what was the diplomatic issue you are talking about right now?

Re:As well they should (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641162)

Oh? The posting of classified government information isn't illegal in the EU? Really now? LOL.

And yeah, Visa/MC should pull out of the EU completely. I'm sure that'll help the economies of the member countries a lot...I think they should do it. Would be perfect. Visa/MC would win in the end because tourists wouldn't have easy ways to buying/paying for things.

The EU needs to get over themselves

Re:As well they should (2)

mcvos (645701) | about 3 years ago | (#36641242)

And yeah, Visa/MC should pull out of the EU completely. I'm sure that'll help the economies of the member countries a lot...I think they should do it. Would be perfect. Visa/MC would win in the end because tourists wouldn't have easy ways to buying/paying for things.

I think it'd be awesomeif they pulled out. It would finally create a strong incentive to set up a neutral and reliable international/online payment framework. Of course Visa/MC would never do that, because they'd lose a huge market, and basically sign there own death warrant even outside that market.

So yes, it could be immensely effective to put pressure on them in the EU. A big fine for abuse of their position would set a very valuable precedent.

Re:As well they should (1)

zill (1690130) | about 3 years ago | (#36641256)

Oh? The posting of classified government information isn't illegal in the EU?

The posting of classified American government information isn't illegal in the EU, since USA is out of their jurisdiction. EU isn't qualified, nor do they incline to, classify whether a particular document counts as "classified government information" of a foreign state.

That being said, even in the US there has been no charges pressed against Wikileaks, so as far as the American government is concerned Wikileaks has not, and is not being accused of, committing an illegal act. An American soldier is being prosecuted for leaking classified intelligence, but not Wikileaks.

Re:As well they should (1)

Sique (173459) | about 3 years ago | (#36641268)

In the EU there are other internal payment processing agencies (eurocheque being the most important one). So it's mainly VISA and Mastercard who will suffer. And as far as I know the documents were not classified by any EU entity, so no EU law was broken.

Re:As well they should (1)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | about 3 years ago | (#36641280)

EU is not some small country somewhere in the third world. Even though EU economy isn't bigger than USA's. It would kill Visa/MC should they pull out of the EU.

Re:As well they should (3, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | about 3 years ago | (#36641506)

"The economy of the European Union generates a GDP of over €12,279.033 billion (US$16,228.23 billion in 2010) according to the IMF, making it the largest economy in the world. The EU economy consists of a single market and the EU is represented as a unified entity in the WTO." (wikipedia)

CC.

Re:As well they should (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#36641282)

Please post the court decision that determined the illegality of Wikileaks actions or STFU. Only a court can decide if what they did was illegal, not Mastercard or Visa.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641402)

Yes then Eruope could switch back to the Eurocheque system. Anyway I have no idea why this was replaced with Maestro 10 years ago.
Also it should not be too hard to find a solution for the tourists from other countries. Maybe they could introduce an international bank transfer system like the one in the EU, without the high fees of the credit card companies or Paypal?

Re:As well they should (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 years ago | (#36641476)

Why should it be illegal in the EU to leak foreign classified documents? Do you think the US would be too unhappy if classified Iranian documents ended up on the web?

Hell, it doesn't even seem to be illegal in the US, at least I haven't heard of the US suing Wikileaks over them.

Re:As well they should (2)

arkenian (1560563) | about 3 years ago | (#36641580)

Oh? The posting of classified government information isn't illegal in the EU? Really now? LOL.

The posting of EU classified government information may be illegal in the EU (EU states do not have as strong press freedom laws as the US, actually -- as one friend put it "about the time the US was publishing the Freedom of Information Act, the UK was updating the Official Secrets Act") but wikileaks hasn't done that. I find it hard to think of any law in the EU wikileaks could have broken. Yet.

In the US the pentagon papers case leaves it carefully ambiguous as to whether one is allowed to publish classified information when one gets it in ALL cases, but certainly in some cases it is legal as that was the point of the precedent. (NOTE: US law has no forgiveness for Manning, nor should it -- he broke a half dozen laws that on several occasions he specifically promised to uphold. Wikileaks, though, is probably okay. It depends on whether Wikileaks is classified as a journalistic or intelligence gathering agency.)

But in this case what is at issue is a.) EU law, and b.) that wikileaks has not so much as been indicted in any court, nor, in truth, is it likely to be. Bravo to wikileaks for taking this action, and I hope they win, it will be a win for free speech and freedom of the press around the world.

Re:As well they should (1)

philipmather (864521) | about 3 years ago | (#36641204)

> Any company, including payment processors, have the right to not do business with companies that violate the law. They aren't making a moral decision but a legal one.

Except when they are participant in a monopoly or near monopoly (especially where collusion may be suspected), you may find the following links of interest...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_law [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_service_obligation [wikipedia.org]

Given the current tendency for homogenization within the financial and payment processing industry the principal of USO should be extended into those areas. As another poster has mentioned the basic principals of Common Carrier Status could also be applied to the financial industry now that it has become an essential pillar of modern civilisations, people should consider whether it remains in their interests to allow the basic provision of these facilities to remain in the hands of private enterprise or whether the state should provide at least the very basic facilities for all it's citizens (see proposals for the Royal Mail/British Post Office). I am not however suggesting anything near or like the wholesale or even part nationalisation of financial industries, I think we have plenty of examples where that ends up.

Excluding government enforced break ups as a separate action for a moment the results of USO and common carrier status on the telecommunications industry has been largely positive in many examples.

Re:As well they should (1)

zill (1690130) | about 3 years ago | (#36641310)

Except that Visa and Mastercard aren't monopolies, since they each hold less than 50% of the market. Wikileaks would have to prove in court that Visa and Mastercard conspired together to ban Wikileaks and thus effectively acted as a single entity. This will be extremely difficult since the two companies are bitter rivals and have no financial interest in colluding with each other.

Re:As well they should (1)

MooUK (905450) | about 3 years ago | (#36641386)

Of course they have financial interests in colluding. Any alternative company that starts competing with them is a threat to both and it is clearly in their interest to wipe them out, by working together if need be.

Re:As well they should (1)

zill (1690130) | about 3 years ago | (#36641462)

But they have a bigger financial interest in not colluding. Since Visa rejected Wikileaks first, if I were the CEO of Mastercard, I would just put up a banner on the homepage: "Donating to Wikileaks, free; supporting freedom of speech, priceless". Everyone who boycotts Visa will consider switching to Mastercard.

Not to mention all the transaction charges that can collected from the donations.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641484)

Both control nearly all the market in EU.

Re:As well they should (1)

mcvos (645701) | about 3 years ago | (#36641216)

Any company, including payment processors, have the right to not do business with companies that violate the law. They aren't making a moral decision but a legal one.

Companies aren't judges. I don't see how it's their place to determine what's legal and what isn't. Only a judge can do that. WikiLeaks didn't break any law, and hasn't been convicted of anything.

Re:As well they should (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 years ago | (#36641448)

Balderdash. Any company has to make decisions on who they do business with, for both financial and legal reasons.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641102)

use bitcoin as alternative?

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641144)

Mod +1 Joke

Re:As well they should (1)

zill (1690130) | about 3 years ago | (#36641120)

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

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641200)

And the EU is free to tell them to do business elsewhere. There is an implicit agreement between them (EU and the companies) . They (companies) have to service everyone( who isn't doing anything illegal) and the EU let them do business.

Re:As well they should (1)

zill (1690130) | about 3 years ago | (#36641348)

Article 101 and 102 of the EU treaty only applies to monopolies, so Visa and Mastercard do not qualify. Wikileaks would have to prove in court that the two companies conspired together and effectively acted as the same entity.

Re:As well they should (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 years ago | (#36641492)

When the amount of companies is small enough that it becomes likely that they acted coordinated in certain actions to the disadvantage of a third party, they can be treated as a monopoly (or, more correct, a cartel). There's something similar currently going down in the EU regarding the oil companies and their pricing policy.

Re:As well they should (5, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:As well they should (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 years ago | (#36641392)

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.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641560)

I disagree. They are a financial institution that must follow laws and regulations. They are not privy to the freedom and whims other business types may have.

Re:As well they should (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641596)

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

Yes, but since they have a duopoly, antitrust law may apply, and their actions may be in violation of it.

Re:As well they should (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 years ago | (#36641500)

What's that? The Furry Rule?

Re:As well they should (1)

Co0Ps (1539395) | about 3 years ago | (#36641146)

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 companies that forced everyone to pay a transaction fee every time they used it in the store, and pay a yearly fee for using it at all. They could also deny people and organizations to use it for any reason. This is why paper money is printed by the government and why digital money should be too. It doesn't make sense to outsource economic infrastructure to the private sector. Having to pay a fee to use money is like being required to pay a fee for walking down the street. Why we accept this treatment online and hasn't come up with a public government controlled standard for digital currency transactions is beyond me.

Re:As well they should (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 3 years ago | (#36641160)

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

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641248)

So a hotel can put out a "no coloureds" sign with impunity, should they so wish?

Re:As well they should (2)

briareus (195464) | about 3 years ago | (#36641368)

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.

Re:As well they should (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 3 years ago | (#36641186)

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 considered obscene, (f) items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction, (g) certain sexually oriented materials or services, or (h) ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories, or (i) ,certain weapons or knives regulated under applicable law

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

Re:As well they should (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | about 3 years ago | (#36641224)

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.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641322)

Not when they control the market! There is a very good reason behind monopoly laws. Companies can't control markets and then go around fucking everyone. They simply can't.

Re:As well they should (1)

zill (1690130) | about 3 years ago | (#36641364)

Visa does not control the market. If they did then Mastercard wouldn't exist.

Re:As well they should (5, Insightful)

FunkSoulBrother (140893) | about 3 years ago | (#36641408)

Ah yes, just like Cable and DSL, Democrat and Republican. Truly the free market is wondrous with it's choices.

Re:As well they should (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 years ago | (#36641514)

But it seems like Visa and Mastercard are in this together, and together they DO more or less control the market.

This wouldn't be the first time the EU ruled against cartels.

Re:As well they should (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 3 years ago | (#36641422)

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.

Re:As well they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641358)

So, uhm...

"We have to allow the courts to manipulate our corporate policy? Really? Oh. Well, we'll just go ahead and fold. That's right. No more Visa or MasterCard. We're stupid rich and we've just been keeping it up for the lulz anyway."

Amazon is the only company with the testicles a company should have. Even Microsoft threatened to stop producing Windows over the antitrust thing... Considering every single system in the entire government runs on Windows... yeah, might not want to mess with them.

As well it should be.

Mastercard = Visa (2)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 3 years ago | (#36641558)

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 of Wikileaks. If they were genuinely independent, and competing with each other, one of them would have been more than happy to take the other's transaction fees on 15 million quid.

Just WOW (1, Offtopic)

lennier1 (264730) | about 3 years ago | (#36641122)

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.

Re:Just WOW (1)

Lifyre (960576) | about 3 years ago | (#36641292)

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.

related (-1, Offtopic)

infashion2011 (2332952) | about 3 years ago | (#36641164)

http://www.infashion2011.com/ [infashion2011.com]

Re:related (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about 3 years ago | (#36641198)

ummm not related

Re:related (1)

chtit_draco (1850522) | about 3 years ago | (#36641202)

Spam account.

... and Postfinance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641218)

... and what about Postfinance? The Swiss Bank had closed the accounts of Julian Assange and as Switzerland is one of the financial nerve centers of this planet Wikileaks should consider sueing them too.

They were in breach with Visa and Mastercard terms (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#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 :)

Money Orders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641330)

If you don't like VISA or MC, don't use it. There are plenty of ways with which to wire money. Grow up people.

CAPTCHA: Puberty

Re:Money Orders? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#36641452)

Wikileaks likes VISA and MC. The problem is VISA and MC don't like Wikileaks.

Should have used Bitcoin. (2)

earls (1367951) | about 3 years ago | (#36641372)

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

Good fucking luck (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 3 years ago | (#36641444)

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

Re:Good fucking luck (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | about 3 years ago | (#36641508)

the fact of the matter is that these people and banks control the world, so its a pretty important battle

Re:Good fucking luck (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 3 years ago | (#36641590)

Realistically one of two things will happen. One: The trial will be over quickly as the CC companies find a way to short circuit the case, with an early dismissal or something similar. Chances: 60%. Two: The trial will take forever because the CC companies will drag it out, and Wikileaks will run out of money (since they control their primary source of donations) and settle. Chances: 39.9%.

And yet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641490)

WikiLeaks' leaders pretend they aren't in it for the money. Greedy bastards.

I want to sew WikiLeaks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36641512)

Not one leaked article about me. I feel left out!

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