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Swedish Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade 234

davecb writes "Rick Falkvinge reports today that the Swedish Pirate Party has laid charges against at least Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal before the Finansinspektionen for refusing to pass on money owed to WikiLeaks. The overseer of bank licenses notes (in translation) that 'The law states, that if there aren't legal grounds to deny a payment service, then it must be processed.'"
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Swedish Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade

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  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:27PM (#42321269) Journal

    Dollars to doughnuts finansinspektionen will conclude that no one in sweden has done anything wrong...

    Since Wikileaks has its headquarters in Sweden (specifically BECAUSE if its strong journalistic shield laws), and no doubt tried to collect the money there, one end of the transaction is under Sweedish banking law. No doubt some of their contributors are also making donations in Sweden, putting the entirety of those transactions under Swedish law.

  • Re:Excellent. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @12:37AM (#42321987)

    Who wants to bet that Visa and Mastercard will follow the telecoms into getting retroactive immunity?

  • Re:Excellent. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:23AM (#42322241)
    VISA and MasterCard aren't normal businesses, they're banks. If you don't understand why banks are special and need to be regulated, I suggest you pick up an economics textbook, I recommend Principles of Economics by N. Gregory Mankiw [], and read the chapter(s) covering the monetary system, banking and the growth of money and inflation. As for "relevant international organizations" there basically are none, apart from powerful nation states, because the power to regulate commerce has always rested implicitly, and when necessary explicitly, upon the economic and military might of those nations that can enforce their wills upon other potential or competing authorities. It's no accident after all that the value of any currency throughout history has always been closely associated with the economic and military might of the entity issuing it and their ability to standardize and enforce its use.
  • Re:Excellent. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by God Of Atheism ( 1003892 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:24AM (#42322809)

    The release of US classified information is illegal everywhere. Otherwise anyone who spied on the US Government while in Paris would be fine.

    That's not the case with any of the rules you mentioned.

    This sounds like a lot of nonsense. If the release of US classified information is illegal in Paris, that is, according to French law, then you're right with regards to spying in Paris. And it could be, since the US and France are NATO allies. However, that does not make the same true everywhere else. I highly doubt that for example Iran has a similar stance on spying on the US.

    That's not to say that anyone who spies on the US government in a country where that's legal is safe. The US has quite a record of extra-legally dealing with people.

    In addition, if someone who spies/d on the US government were to enter US territory, it's even more likely the person would be apprehended. The US government likely views itself as having universal jurisdiction where people embarrassing it are concerned, regardless of whether this is in line with international law.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @04:27AM (#42323101) Homepage

    The US government was (and is) certainly a major force here. The trail is even easier to follow, if you look at the hosting. After the Wikileaks servers were initially overwhelmed by DDOS attacks, they moved to Amazon EC2. On 29 November 2010, Ms. Clinton stated that the US would "aggressively" go after Wikileaks. Two days later, on 1 December 2010, Amazon threw Wikileaks off of EC2.

    According to the fine print in the Amazon Terms-and-Conditions, they can do this for any reason or no reason. Which is not unusual, but it *is* unusual to see a company actually make use of such terms. It is surely coincidental that, at that point in time, Amazon was completing for some pretty big cloud-service contracts with the federal government.

  • Re:Excellent. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dropadrop ( 1057046 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @05:15AM (#42323331)

    Good selective quoting there. The bit you missed ("you agree to enforce everyone-else's rules in areas where they have sovereignty") makes clear that the blasphemy law thing is a straw man.

    I can only give it a two out of five, tho. Way too transparent.

    Well from a Europeans point of view I can't see how you could accept blocking all payments from an organization that has not had charges raised against it. I understand it follows the same path of locking up people without a trial and even ordering execution of citizens etc, but that sounds like something China or Russia would be doing (so not that far fetched).

    So what you are saying is that if the US decides to go against all common sense and due procedure, we should abide to your laws even when no charges have been raised... Actually it seems that the whole case would be based on what is considered as "press", so I guess it would fit your whole current view on the law and freedom that you would retroactively make a definition that Wikileaks does not fill or require all press organizations to get a yearly governmental approval to be covered by the legal protection "press entities" are entitled to.

  • by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @08:15AM (#42324145)

    It is quite possible that Amazon tossed wikileaks off their server in response to Ms. Clinton's announcement so they wouldn't have to deal with the hassle of the US government coming in and seizing their equipment.

    You know.... proactively protecting their other paying customers from losing their hosted services and/or data by getting rid of a customer that creates a risk.

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