In an effort to choke the life out of Wikileaks the obvious target would be to target the cash flow that helps to support the site, and the first up to turn off that cash flow was PayPal. The company claims that Wikileaks lied when applying for their PayPal account and because this is against their terms of service PayPal froze the Wikileaks account.
No sooner had PayPal done this than we heard word that Mastercard and Visa were following suit which along with the freezing of Wikileaks Swiss bank account effectively shut down the majority, if not all, of the organization’s access to money.
While I am sure that there are many people who are cheering on these moves and giving the companies involved all kinds of kudos other are pointing to the utter hypocrisy of these companies. As Charles Arthur, Guardian technology editor, pointed out
Charles Arthur, the Guardian’s technology editor, points out that while MasterCard and Visa have cut WikiLeaks off you can still use those cards to donate to overtly racist organisations such as the Knights Party, which is supported by the Ku Klux Klan.
The Ku Klux Klan website directs users to a site called Christian Concepts. It takes Visa and MasterCard donations for users willing to state that they are “white and not of racially mixed descent. I am not married to a non-white. I do not date non-whites nor do I have non-white dependents. I believe in the ideals of western Christian civilisation and profess my belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God.”
I guess an open and free web is a great thing .. at least up until money is involved.