Europarliament Scolds Visa, MasterCard, PayPal For Killing WikiLeaks Donations; Initiates Regulation
Swarm Economy – Rick Falkvinge
Today, the European Parliament ordered new legislation to regulate credit card companies’ ability to refuse service. This regulation follows the unilateral and rightless cutoff of donations to WikiLeaks, as well as similar trampling on small entrepreneurs. The Pirate Party took the initiative to the new regulation.
It has become an increasingly large problem that Visa, MasterCard, and Paypal control the valve to any money flow on the planet. Today, the European Parliament established this as a clear problem, and initiated regulation of the companies, limiting and strictly regulating their right to refuse service. The Pirate Party was the initiator of this regulation, following the damaging cutoff of donations to WikiLeaks after said organization had performed journalism that was embarrassing to certain governments.
In the week leading up to this initiation of regulation, banks in Sweden were caught in the act of arbitrarily discriminating against fully legal business owners that the banks claimed sold (according to the banks) “questionable products” like horror movies, movies with nudity, or sex toys; meanwhile, these same banks happily channeled stock in corporations under investigation of genocide. When pressed on the matter, the banks referred to vague rules from Visa and MasterCard – who are apparently in a position to shut down any business or organization on the planet they don’t agree with for any reason. This is an obvious and severe problem.
The European Parliament adopted the following passage today as part of a larger report, requesting legislation to be drafted on the matter, having the crucial text inserted by Pirate MEP Christian Engström:
32. [The European Parliament] Considers it likely that there will be a growing number of European companies whose activities are effectively dependent on being able to accept payments by card; considers it to be in the public interest to define objective rules describing the circumstances and procedures under which card payment schemes may unilaterally refuse acceptance
While this may seem like vague political language, this is a clear request for legislation to be drafted on the matter which will eventually come to a vote.
The initiator of this part of the bill, MEP Christan Engström with the Pirate Party, comments in a press release:
“It is not reasonable that Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal can shut Swedish entrepreneurs out from trading online when they sell horror movies or sex toys, just because the payment providers are scared of American fundamentalist moralism”, says Christian Engström, Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party.
“Another example is when Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal blocked donations to WikiLeaks. This happened without legal grounds and shall be regarded as the three companies collaborating in helping the American government to silence an inconvenient voice. It is unacceptable that private corporations has that kind of power over free speech”, says Engström.