Dutch online magazine WebWereld.nl reports that the Dutch Payment Group from the province of Limburg in The Netherlands is helping out WikiLeaks. People can now go and use iDeal (online payment service) to make donations at Datacell, the company banned by PayPal, VISA and MasterCard.
The Dutch Payment Group in the Dutch city of Heerlen is facilitating payments to WikiLeaks for a week already via the iDeal payment module at Datacell, the Icelandic hosting provider which also processes donations to whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Datacell was banned by PayPal, MasterCard and VISA in early December.
“I was watching a broadcast about WikiLeaks and the ban by VISA and MasterCard and my pants just dropped”, Marc Hermans, CEO of the Dutch Payment Group responds to WebWereld.
“We are purely facilitative companies. That goes for us, but also MasterCard and VISA. That means you cannot just go and pull the plug on organizations because they are disclosing information which governments do not like. There has not even a specific complaint been issued against WikiLeaks. That these companies bow to political pressure is affecting the foundation of the internet in my opinion.”
Hermans approached Datacell himself, offering them to use his payment system. Next to iDeal the Dutch Payment Group is also offering DIRECTebanking, a similar service which is very popular in Germany.
“We have clear guidelines when to block transactions, to prevent money laundering, child abuse, banned terrorist movements and the likes. But Datacell is simply a merchant like any other and they will pass the approval procedure successfully. Period. That’s our business, that’s normal. What VISA and Mastercard are doing is abnormal,” Hermans says.
The Dutch Payment Group is a licensee of iDeal owner Currence. Currence has no objection against this: “Excellent initiative” the Currence spokesperson stated, arguing that this is business as usual.
CEO Hermans of Dutch Payment did not want to draw any additional attention to his campaign. “It’s nothing more than our social responsibility. Because citizens need to have a choice which organizations they would like to support financially. WikiLeaks is not a banned organization in The Netherlands and is not committing any crimes.”
“To put it stronger: Dutch judges prefer the WikiLeaks memos over the communication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when handling deportation proceedings,” Hermans stated, referring to three remarkable and recent verdicts (Dutch).
The Icelandic hoster Datacell confirms the agreement with the payment processor from the province of Limburg. “We are very happy with the Dutch Payment Group. If VISA and MasterCard are banning us, we are ofcourse looking for alternative payment methods. And that process went swiftly,” CEO Andreas Fink states to WebWereld. He points out that users can now go and use payments.datacell.com instead of donations.datacell.com.
Fink is still looking for other payment methods to be able to accept donations from more countries. But to American citizens there is no option other than to transfer money directly via their bank. In the US there isn’t something like iDeal. PayPal and the big credit card companies are ruling the online realm there.
The Dutch Payment Group is not the only Dutch company that wants to make a statement on behalf of the freedom of choice in relation to payments and wants to act against politically motivated bans by the big American payment companies. The Amsterdam payment service Mollie started a separate WikiLeaks donation website almost two weeks ago which is accepting various payment methods. Mollie jumpstarted the campaign by donating 5,000 euro.
The Netherlands supports WikiLeaks, a statement on the website reads.
According to founder and CEO Adriaan Mol WikiLeaks is conducting a type of journalism and the bans are threatening the freedom of the press. Mollie opened up the donation site using the credo “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
In an attempt not to jeopardize other customers and their own business activities wikileaks.mollie.nl has been offered a separate uplink connection by Internet Service Provider XS4ALL, which is sympathizing with the initiative, Mol states. The campaign is also being supported by other companies which want to remain anonymous.
The feedback is a bit disappointing though, Mol observes. “On Twitter the campaign went viral and gained a lot of popularity, but that disappeared quite rapidly.” The counter is now at 6,000 euro. Mollie transfered the funds to another “channel” of WikiLeaks, the German Foundation Wau Holland, connected to the famous hacker movement Chaos Computer Club.
Dutch language article: http://webwereld.nl/nieuws/105198/ideal-faciliteert-donaties-aan-wikileaks.html