Feeds

Court orders Visa partner to allow donations to WikiLeaks

Credit card blockade begins to crack

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

WikiLeaks may soon be able to accept donations again, now that the Icelandic Supreme Court has ruled that the blockade on donations imposed by local Visa partner Valitor is illegal and has ordered the company to pay huge fines if it doesn't change its ways.

In its ruling, the court upheld an earlier court decision that cutting off WikiLeaks from donations was illegal and ordered Valitor (formerly known as Visa Iceland) to allow payments to the controversial organization. If it doesn't comply within 15 days, the company is ordered to pay a fine of 800,000 ISK ($6,829) per day.

"It's an extremely happy day," WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Register. "We're now working on the preparation of litigation of international companies, taking it step by step via their subcontractors, focusing on those bowing under political pressure and ordering the payment closure worldwide."

He explained that in a similar legal case, Denmark Visa's payment processor had admitted that the ban had been instituted under pressure, although there has been no similar admission from Valitor in this case.

Shortly after WikiLeaks released US diplomatic cables in November 2010, the site was hit by a blockade on donations from Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal.

In the latter case, PayPal said that the ban was instituted because the US State Department claimed WikiLeaks was engaging in illegal activities. But in 2011, US Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner said that there were no grounds to block donations to WikiLeaks.

The blacklisting left the organization starved of funds, but it instituted legal action over the ban, pointing out that the three payment systems continued to provide services for such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan. Visa and MasterCard were also briefly hit with hacking attacks after the ban was revealed.

Wednesday's ruling could just be the start of more financially flush times for WikiLeaks, Hrafnsson explained, since the ruling could be augmented by a separate case by the whistle-blowing website's Icelandic payment processor and hosting firm, DataCell. DataCell had been driven nearly to bankruptcy by the blockade, he said, and the courts could also award it a serious chunk of cash in damages for lost business.

The ruling could also have an effect on WikiLeaks' ongoing complaint to the EU that the ban constitutes uncompetitive behavior. Hrafnsson said that the translated Supreme Court ruling will be sent to the EU as part of that case.

"This is a victory for free speech. This is a victory against the rise of economic censorship to crack down against journalists and publishers," said WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in a statement.

"We thank the Icelandic people for showing that they will not be bullied by powerful Washington backed financial services companies like Visa. And we send out a warning to the other companies involved in this blockade: you're next." ®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.