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Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade

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Corruption

Corruption

Today, the Swedish Pirate Party filed formal charges against Swedish banks for their discrimination against WikiLeaks, which has been systematically denied donations by payment providers since 2010.

Numerous payment service providers, including Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal, have blocked donations to WikiLeaks and other legal operations since 2010. Banks have been a part of the network of these service providers, which means that the banks actively participate in stopping donations without legitimate grounds. The Swedish Pirate Party says that this behavior is unacceptable and cause for grave concern, and has filed charges against the Swedish banks in question to try this behavior in court.

The charges were filed earlier today with the Swedish Finansinspektionen, the authority which oversees bank licenses and abuse of position. This follows an earlier initiative from the Pirate Party to regulate credit card companies on the European level in order to deny them the ability to determine who gets to trade and who doesn’t.

“The blockade is a serious threat against the freedoms of opinion and expression”, says the Pirate Party’s Erik Lönroth, who has been preparing the formal charges. “It must not be up to the individual payment provider to determine which organizations are eligible for donations. At the same time, these charges will bring clarity as to whether the bank regulations of today are sufficient, or if regulations need to be tightened to protect freedom of expression.”

It’s not just WikiLeaks that has been hurt by the randomness of the payment service providers. Swedish entrepreneurs such as sex toy shops and horror movie stores have also been denied payment services arbitrarily, which has effectively been a death sentence for the fully-legal companies.

Johan Terfelt, who oversees the Finansinspektionen unit for payment providers, confirms that the authority has received the filed charges, writes the Dagens Nyheter:

“We will now investigate what has happened and evaluate the reasons, if any, for us to intervene”, Terfelt tells the Dagens Nyheter. He also states there’s no room at all for arbitrary randomness, and gives a careful hint at a possible outcome: “The law states, that if there aren’t legal grounds to deny a payment service, then it must be processed.”

More in ye Swedish Oldemedia: the Dagens Nyheter, the Göteborgs-Posten.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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30

  1. 2
    Craig

    Assuming the case goes the way it should, what’s the likely consequences for PayPal et al? Will they be forced to stop pandering to the US government?

    • 2.1
      Daniel

      It would only affect PayPal’s business in Sweden, as this case is about Swedish banks vs Swedish businesses. You would have to file a discrimination case in the US against PayPal, which only works if they discriminate against “protected classes” (women, minorities, old people, disabled, etc.). There is not a general requirement to do business with you in the US. If a business owner decides they don’t like you, they don’t have to *unless* their reason is based on one of the protected groups.

  2. 3

    sadly i dont think Finansinspektionen will do anything but confirm that it was right to block donations to Wikileaks thru Paypal because real/geopolitik

  3. 4
    Jay

    Situations like this is why BitCoin will crush the payment processors. Little to no transaction fee, no central authority, nobody can stop you from accepting it. Wikileaks already accepts it. It simply needs more widespread acceptance to crush the credit card companies…

    • 4.1
      rockyshaw

      Is there any tutorial or article to understand the whole bitcoin operation and how does it work? How much control is there for fraudulent by the creators by manipulation?

    • 4.2
      harveyed

      Yeah. It has many good features. But how are we gonna make governments and taxing agencies comfortable with it? Anonymized payments… how to check if people have paid their taxes..? I’m a little bit afraid that if we can’t solve that or get a Really Good argument why it’s not needed… then this may be called a “tax-evading criminal tool” or something of the sort.

  4. 5
    Anonymous

    surely this is about more than just payments to Wikileaks being stopped, isn’t it? it’s about influence from other companies, other industries, other countries on certain companies because what is happening isn’t liked. the effects could be very far reaching. look at the financial and market place advantages that a company could gain over a competitor, just be forming an alliance with payment processors. the consequences in this particular case were bad, in future, they could be dire!

  5. 6

    If this goes through, will we see a ragtag band of Swedish intermediaries for PayPal donations to Wikileaks?

  6. 7
    Name of my choice

    “At the same time, these charges will bring clarity as to whether the bank regulations of today are sufficient, or if __regulations need to be tightened to protect freedom of expression__.”

    Oxymoron! But I see the point. Even though VISA & co are pivately owned companies who also should have freedom of expression, they do have a de facto monopoly, in an industry that has a high threshold for establishing competitors. So once you do have a monopoly on something, you could in theory add regulation to protect freedom of expression.

    As a principle I’m against it, but in practice it may be necessary in this case.

  7. […] Partido Pirata ve como inaceptable y de grave preocupación esta actitud arbitraria, por lo que ha decidido presentar cargos contra los bancos suecos ante el Finansinspektionen, el órgano que supervisa los abusos de poder y las actividades […]

  8. […] Partido Pirata ve como inaceptable y de grave preocupación esta actitud arbitraria, por lo que ha decidido presentar cargos contra los bancos suecos ante el Finansinspektionen, el órgano que supervisa los abusos de poder y las actividades […]

  9. […] Partido Pirata ve como inaceptable y de grave preocupación esta actitud arbitraria, por lo que ha decidido presentar cargos contra los bancos suecos ante el Finansinspektionen, el órgano que supervisa los abusos de poder y las actividades […]

  10. […] Pirate Party sees as unacceptable and arbitrary attitude serious concern, so has decided to press charges against Swedish banks to the Finansinspektionen, the body that monitors abuses of power and banking. The preamble of the […]

  11. […] Partido Pirata ve como inaceptable y de grave preocupación esta actitud arbitraria, por lo que ha decidido presentar cargos contra los bancos suecos ante el Finansinspektionen, el órgano que supervisa los abusos de poder y las actividades […]

  12. […] cut off the site a while back. The latest, however is that the Swedish Pirate Party itself has pressed charges against Swedish banks for discriminating against […]

  13. […] "CRITEO-300×250", 300, 250); 1 meneos   El Partido Pirata sueco denuncia a los bancos por bloquear a Wikileaks (ING) falkvinge.net/2012/12/17/pirate-party-presses-charges-aga…  por jm22381 hace […]

  14. 9
    -tully Vloyd

    This is just silly. Wikileaks had enough money but Assange squandered it all. Wikileaks isn’t relevant at all anymore as there are better servics so why should the pirate party even be associated to them?

    • 9.1
      Anonymous

      Attacking emotion over facts. Learn to troll better than that.

      It doesn’t matter whether Wikileaks had enough money or not. What if bank thinks you have enough money on your hands and will refuse to give you back your money? Is that ok too?

  15. […] Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade […]

  16. […] Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade […]

  17. […] The Swedish Pirate Party filed formal charges against Swedish banks for their discrimination against WikiLeaks, which has been systematically denied donations by payment providers since 2010. Numerous payment service providers, including Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal, have blocked donations to WikiLeaks and other legal operations since 2010. Banks have been a part of the network of these service providers, which means that the banks actively participate in stopping donations without legitimate grounds. The Swedish Pirate Party says that this behavior is unacceptable and cause for grave concern, and has filed charges against the Swedish banks in question to try this behavior in court.  […]

  18. […] Swedish Pirate Party filed formal charges against Swedish banks for their discrimination against WikiLeaks in cutting off […]

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About The Author

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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