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Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of culture, technology, politics, and law. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site.

Politech members reply over Paypal deleting news site account

Personally, I've been happy enough with Paypal and find it a useful 
service. It is reasonable to speak out against Paypal if we know for a fact 
it is terminating accounts arbitrarily for political activities. Here, 
however, we don't know enough about the details of the situation, and I'll 
give Paypal/eBay the benefit of the doubt for now. If the details suggest 
otherwise or this becomes a pattern, then I'll change my mind.

Previous Politech message:
"Paypal deletes account of independent news site, gives no reason"



Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 11:26:32 -0800
From: rabble@riseup.net
To: declan@well.com
Cc: politech@politechbot.com, customercare@paypal.com
Subject: Re: FC: Paypal deletes account of independent news site, gives 
no  reason

As the person who had been handling the pay pal account for indymedia i have
to say we aren't to happy with pay pal. They haven't turned our accounts off
for political reasons, but we've had to jump through their fraud hoops
several times including have to fake the existance of a president of
indymedia to get our accounts reactivated.

We have been considering switching, but the trouble is to what, pay pal has
unfortunately been by far the easist system to setup. Affero is very
attractive becuase it allows donars to specify which project they want their
money to go to, and allows the building up of reputations.

The real reason we are thinking of switching is because we don't want to
have our donar database handed over to the US government for their war on
diss^H^H^H terrorism. There's a good legal case history of protecting the
membership lists of political organizations in the US although that my be
changing with the Patriot Act and Son of Patriot Act.

Anyway i'd recommend that any groups doing vaugely political work stay away
from pay pal. It's like a bad addictive drug, the switching process may be a
little painful but you're a whole lot healthier without it.

in solidarity,


Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 15:23:54 -0500 (EST)
From: Tommyc <tommyc@lipsio.com>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject: Re: FC: Paypal deletes account of independent news site, gives no

Citibank's c2it is free, and easy enough once you get registered.


To: declan@well.com
Subject: Re: FC: Paypal deletes account of independent news site, gives no 
From: corbet@lwn.net (Jonathan Corbet)
In-reply-to: Your message of "Thu, 13 Mar 2003 01:24:39 EST."
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 13:33:16 -0700

[Really about credit card accounts - perhaps getting a bit peripheral to
the main issue...]

 > It would be useful if members of the forum might be able to suggest
 > other alternatives. We have been advised by one person to open
 > our own Visa Merchant account but are very reluctant to do so.

It's worth mentioning that merchant accounts are not necessarily a lot
safer.  When LWN.net decided that it was time to give up and shut down, our
readers responded with over $30K in donations, mostly with credit cards.
Our merchant bank decided they didn't like that, *extracted the donation
money back out of our checking account*, and held onto it for months.
Among other things, they didn't like the high proportion of non-US cards
used, and they *really* didn't like the merchant account being used for
donations.  It took us a long time to straighten out that one, and nearly
killed the business.

Now we have a new merchant bank, and we keep the bulk of our funds in a
different account that they don't know about.  We've also moved away from
the donation model.  Things are better now, but I've learned that merchant
banks, too, can turn hostile and screw you over on a moment's notice.


Jonathan Corbet
Executive editor, LWN.net


Reply-To: "J.C." <janconklin@screaminet.com>
From: "J.C." <janconklin@screaminet.com>
To: <declan@well.com>
References: <>
Subject: Re: Paypal deletes account of independent news site, gives no  reason
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 16:00:19 -0700

It reeks of political censorship that PayPal should decide it is the 
internet finance cop and selectively grab some accounts and not others - 
but it's not really a surprise.  Since eBay bought PayPal, and eBay is 
certainly posturing itself as the New Corporate Billionaire On The Block 
politico (taking such liberties as readily giving up its customers' 
information to "law enforcement" without subpoena, per Politech) BOTH 
entities seem to be acting unlike businesses and more like the 
small-town-mayor running for US Congress, willing to lick any powerful 
entity's boots to get there.  I am mystified by the annoying eBay 
commercials on television, and moreso at its constant telemarketing lately 
(disregarding the Colorado "No-Call" List, yet).  I hope PayPal recovers 
part of its senses, or I'm going to be forced to do business with one of 
Those Other Internet banking ventures.

Best regards,
Jan Conklin


Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 11:06:37 -0700
To: declan@well.com
From: Charles Oriez <coriez@oriez.org>
Subject: Re: FC: Paypal deletes account of independent news site, gives
   no reason

501(C)3 non profits can use Network For Good.  http://denveraitp.org 
funnels scholarship money through them.

Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter http://rmc.sierraclub.org uses 
http://processing.net with good results.  If you are a 501(C)4 or C(3) they 
will waive processing fees provided they can donate them to your selected 
(C)3 arm, although you still have to pay your bank's merchant account fees.

Feel free to share.

Charles Oriez     coriez@oriez.org
39  34' 34.4"N / 105 00' 06.3"W


From: saksfi@webtv.net
X-WebTV-Signature: 1
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 16:23:01 -0800 (PST)
To: declan@well.com
Subject: Re: Delete my e-dress if used please. FC: Paypal deletes account

One should be aware that Paypal recently was purchased by Ebay and Ebay
turns over to the Federal government ALL information they have of their
sellers and buyers, almost volunteering the info without being asked
legally.  So political use to target and  eliminate contrary sites to
the "group think" of this current administration would not be surprising

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