Feeds

Court orders Visa partner to allow donations to WikiLeaks

Credit card blockade begins to crack

High performance access to file storage

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." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables
There's plenty of good money to be made if you stay out of the PC market
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.