Credit Card Companies Forestall Legal Trouble by Allowing Donations via DataCell

Credit card of future

Credit card of future by Robert Scoble

Remember that suit Wikileaks’ hosting company, DataCell was about to file? Today was the day they were planning to do so. And surprise surprise, Visa and MasterCard have suddenly decided to start processing payments from DataCell again.

Late last week, WikiLeaks and DataCell gave me a copy of a legal complaint the group had planned to file Thursday with the European Union Commission, accusing the card companies and their Danish payment processor Teller of abusing their market positions by cutting off WikiLeaks’ financial sources.

Neither Visa nor MasterCard has responded to that threat, and even now a Visa spokesperson merely tells me that the company is “looking into the situation.”

But in the meantime, Visa, MasterCard and American Express payments have all inexplicably opened to DataCell and WikiLeaks through another payment processor, according to DataCell.

“Today we have observed that an alternative payment processor that we have contracted with, has in fact opened the gateway for payments with Visa and Mastercard, and now also for American Express Card payments, which is an option we did not had before,” DataCell wrote in a statement on its website.

We’ll see how long it lasts. But it says something about the due process used here if the mere threat of legal action has opened up the credit processing already.

9 replies
  1. scribe says:


    I thought it was a draft.

    One is compelled to wonder whether the Euro competition cops have a “capable of repetition, yet evading review” line of law in their books.

    And the speed of the non-reaction reaction has “Guilty as charged” written all over it.

    • emptywheel says:

      Twas my error. I think–though am not sure–that Forbes updated after I did the post. Though you’re right that the filing looked drafty anyway.

      • bmaz says:

        Well, not just due process, but what does it say about our government’s anti-trust and anticompetitiveness divisions? If this is true, it is so totally lame.

  2. rugger9 says:

    Well noted, by both. Given how predatory the credit “industry” is in general, and the prior actions of these two entities in particular, the speed of this about-face is rather startling. They and their ilk have dragged their feet on issues far more damningly documented (with suits filed) and yet the merest whiff of a suit here meant that Visa & Mastercard ran for their fainting couch and smelling salts.

    Something else is in play here that’s big enough to curb the arrogance. What do you suppose it might be?

    • Kassandra says:

      Perhaps the BofA information? For that matter, all the banks.
      It is pretty interesting.
      Maybe, also, they don’t want Wikileaks to get anymore attention than they can help

  3. bobschacht says:

    …Visa, MasterCard and American Express payments have all inexplicably opened to DataCell and WikiLeaks through another payment processor, according to DataCell.

    Is this one set up with more invasive than usual tracking systems that are designed to break Wikileak’s finances?

    Bob in AZ

  4. Sinestar says:

    Sounds like a tepid victory!

    Maybe we can squeeze a public apology out of Droopy Dog Lieberman for his assault on Democracy, freedom of the press, and free speech?

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