Feeds

PayPal says sorry: Fat fingers froze fundraiser for anti-spy ProtonMail

Payment goliath blames 'technical problem' for account block

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

PayPal has lifted its embargo on ProtonMail, the Swiss startup raising funds via Indiegogo to build a communications system hardened against surveillance.

The payment giant claims the account freeze wasn't a matter of policy, but a simple cock-up.

On Monday ProtonMail, which was set up by boffins at CERN and MIT, reported that PayPal had blocked its account and left $280,000 of crowd-funded cash in limbo. ProtonMail said PayPal hadn't warned it of the account freeze, and a representative of the payment service provider had questioned whether the proposed service was legal and had government approval.

But within 24 hours ProtonMail reported that the block had been lifted and it had access to the funds pledged by its supporters once more. Anuj Nayar, senior director of global initiatives at PayPal, told The Register that the whole furor had been caused by a couple of errors on its part.

Back in September PayPal changed its operating procedures on administrating account status in response to problems some of its customers had been having, he said. ProtonMail's account was flagged up for checking – a process that would have left the startup with full control of their funds – but someone pressed the wrong button and frozen the account, we're told.

"We made a mistake and as soon as we found out we called and apologized," Nayar said.

With regards to the conversation with a PayPal staffer that ProtonMail reported about the service's legality, PayPal said it is checking call transcripts, but that it was clear that someone at their end had made a mistake.

There is nothing in ProtonMail's proposals that broke PayPal's rules and that it has no problem with this kind of product, Nayar said. Indeed, there are plenty of products funded via PayPal in the security and encryption worlds.

Nayar added that senior executives will review procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again. We'll keep you posted. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.