WikiLeaks’s Partner Says Visa, MasterCard Lift Payment Block
DataCell is using an alternative-payment gateway to process money sent through MasterCard, the world’s second-largest payments network, and Visa Europe, which runs the largest card network in the European Union, Reykjavik, Iceland-based DataCell said in a statement today.
“DataCell is happy to report that we are now able again to process donations to WikiLeaks,” the company said. “We choose to interpret this as that Visa and MasterCard has in fact given in to our demand” to reinstate the service.
MasterCard’s website was attacked by hackers last month and in December after the Purchase, New York-based firm and Visa Europe blocked WikiLeaks from using its network to collect funds from donors. WikiLeaks, led by Julian Assange, publishes secret documents, including confidential U.S. diplomatic and military information. The December attack on MasterCard was orchestrated by hacker group Anonymous, TechCrunch reported at the time.
Amanda Kamin, a spokeswoman for London-based Visa Europe, denied that the firm had changed its policy on WikiLeaks donations. “We have not reinstated DataCell and are looking into how transactions are being made,” Kamin said in an e- mailed statement.
James Issokson, a New York-based spokesman for MasterCard, didn’t return e-mails or phone calls seeking comment.
DataCell is also able to process WikiLeaks donations made through American Express Co. (AXP), the biggest credit-card issuer by customer spending, according to the statement. Christine Elliott, a spokeswoman for New York-based AmEx, didn’t return e- mails and phone calls seeking comment.
At about 4:20 p.m. New York time, the WikiLeaks Twitter account, which has almost 1 million followers, posted a message about the “Financial block workaround.”
“Donate whilst you can Visa, MasterCard and AmEx,” read the rest of the message, which linked back to the WikiLeaks website.
In December, the U.S. Justice Department subpoenaed Twitter Inc. to hand over data about users with ties to WikiLeaks.
PayPal, a unit of EBay Inc. (EBAY), the world’s largest online marketplace, also suspended payments to the website in December. PayPal hasn’t lifted its block, company spokesman Anuj Nayar said in a phone interview.
“Nothing has changed regarding being able to take WikiLeaks donations via PayPal,” Nayar said.
Assange Defence Fund
PayPal still accepts donations for the Julian Assange Defence Fund through a company called FundRazr, according to Nayar. The fund was created by Assange’s defense team and receives contributions to help defend the WikiLeaks leader, according to a Facebook application.
Visa Inc. (V)’s supension of payments to Wikileaks is still in place, spokeswoman Erica Harvill said in an e-mailed statement. Visa Europe split from Visa Inc. before the San Francisco-based company’s initial public offering in 2008.
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