PayPal Apologizes to Cryptome

The Register explains that the payment service finally responded to co-founder and site operator, John Young. They claim the seizure of his account balance was a mistake but he is far from mollified.

From an email thread posted on the site:

Your apology is inadequate for the harm caused by PayPal’s actions to me, my website Cryptome.org and its donors.

PayPal has never provided a complete and credible explanation for its limitation of my account and confiscation of $5,300.

Young goes on to take issue with allegations made to The Register by staff at PayPal. Regardless of the particulars, the general outline of his complaint matches their handing of the repeated shutdown of Wikileaks’ account as well. None of the incidences has provided any adequate explanation or accountable actions to prevent such mistakes from being made again.

PayPal Has Now Suspended Cryptome’s Account

Cryptome is another clearing house site for leaked documents, co-founded and operated by John Young. It was recently in the news for being on the receiving end of a botched take down request at the behest of Microsoft.

Now Cryptome has had its account suspended by PayPal, according to The Register. The theory I’d heard to explain this repeatedly happening to Wikileaks is a run in with PayPal’s torturous rules on handling donations for some classes of organizations. There aren’t any details, yet, from PayPal on this case but I suspect it is for similar reasons.

I wonder if other not-for-profits have been experiencing similar problems and this is a bias in coverage because of the sensational nature of Wikileaks and Cryptome or this is part of genuine discrimination on the part of the payment processor, disguised as some impenetrable bureaucracy.

WikiLeaks Able to Receive Donations Again

The Register has an update on the story from yesterday, that for at least the second time, PayPal suspended the site’s ability to receive donations through the micropayment service. An acquaintance hinted to me that there was more than the story but was not in a position to comment further. According to this article,

PayPal’s spokeswoman said it had lifted the suspension on Saturday, suggesting it had been triggered by anti-money laundering systems.

This despite Wikileaks working with a known quantity, Wau Holland Stiftung, a foundation that also works with CCC. Actually, in sifting through the translation of the foundation’s home page, supporting the Chaos Computing Club seems to be their sole raison d’etre.

As well regarded as CCC is in the hacker community, especially for its annual hacker gathering, I suspect this association may have as much to do with the suspension as anything. Of course, facts are sparse here so this is just my supposition.