BERLIN – WikiLeaks has lost a major source of revenue after the online payment service provider PayPal cut off its account used to collect donations, saying the website is engaged in illegal activity.
The announcement also came as WikiLeaks is struggling to keep its website accessible after service providers such as Amazon dropped contracts, and governments and hackers continued to hound the organization.
The weekend move by PayPal came as WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of United States diplomatic cables brought commercial organizations on the Internet that have business ties with the organization under more scrutiny.
The online payment service PayPal suspended the account used by WikiLeaks to collect donations.
The decision follows the publication by WikiLeaks of thousands of leaked US embassy cables.
WikiLeaks accused PayPal, which is based in America, of bowing to US Government demands to withdraw its service. PayPal is one of several methods that enables WikiLeaks to receive donations and finance its operations.
On Wednesday, Amazon ended an agreement to host WikiLeaks, forcing the website to switch to a Swiss internet address on Friday. It had also been dropped by another US internet service provider.
In a posting on WikiLeaks’ Twitter page, the website announced: “PayPal bans WikiLeaks after US government pressure.”
A statement on the PayPal site said: “PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We’ve notified the account holder of this action.”
The internet publisher directed users to http://www.wikileaks.ch after the wikileaks.org site on which it had published classified US government information vanished from view for about six hours.
Last week, the company providing Wikileaks with its domain name, EveryDNS.net, cut off the service because the domain wikileaks.org had become the target of “multiple distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks”.
The company said: “These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure, which enables access to almost 500,000 other websites.”
Amazon said Wikileaks had failed to adhere to its terms of service. Amazon said on its website: “It’s clear that Wikileaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that Wikileaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy.” Amazon said on its website.
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, is believed to be in hiding in the south east of England. He is wanted in Sweden over alleged sex crimes.
Robert Mendick Chief reporter 3:00PM GMT 04 Dec 2010
Source: The Telegraph