After WikiLeaks uploaded a massive amount of confidential government cable documents, there was some confusion about how to handle the support of the website’s operations. WikiLeaks was hit with a DDoS attack so they moved their website to Amazon.com’s cloud. Amazon.com kicked out WikiLeaks from their servers and then the banks started to freeze the and shut down the WikiLeaks accounts.
Visa, Mastercard, Bank of America, and PayPal banned WikiLeaks from participating in any financial transaction through their services.
Bank of America said that WikiLeaks is doing things that are ?inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments.?
Yet the U.S. government still has yet to charge WikiLeaks with a crime.
The New York Times pointed out that banks have the ability to block payments to a legal entity simply because they dislike the organization. This essentially cuts off the legal entity from a payments system in the world economy. Does this indicate that the banks have way too much power? Or do you think they were right for cutting off WikiLeaks?
This debates reminds me of the movie Enemy of the State. In the movie, Will Smith’s character got a hold of classified government information and they blackmailed him in order to pressure him to give it back. This includes cutting off his credit cards and tracking him at all times by satellite.
Here are my thoughts on what you should do if you don’t want the banks mess with your accounts: don’t mess with the U.S. government and follow the rules. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.
[New York Times]