Wednesday, May 18, 2016

PayPal cuts Wikis from money flow

The online payment service provider PayPal has cut off the account used by Wikis to collect donations, serving another blow to the organization just as it was struggling to keep its website accessible after an American company stopped directing traffic to it.PayPal said in a blog posting that the move was prompted by a violation of its 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."The short notice was dated Friday, and a spokeswoman for PayPal Germany on Saturday declined to elaborate and referred to the official blog posting.Donating money to Wikis via PayPal on Saturday was not possible anymore, erating an error message saying "this recipient is currently unable to receive money."PayPal is one of several ways Wikis collects donations, and until now was probably the most secure and convenient way to support the organization.The other options listed on Wikis' website are through mail to an Australian post box, through bank transfers to accounts in Switzerland, Germany or Iceland as well as through one "credit card processing partner" in Switzerland. Wikis' PayPal account redirects users to a German foundation which provides the organization with the money. The Wau Holland Foundation, named after a German , confirmed Saturday in a Twitter message that their PayPal account had been taken down because of the "financial support to Wikis."The foundation's president Winfried Motzkus rlier this week was quoted by his hometown Bielefeld's local newspaper Neue Westfaelische as saying that Wau Holland has so far collected euro750,000 ($1 million) for Wikis, covering the organization's expenses.Wikis' recent relses seem to have been a boon for the foundation, which has previously described itself as the organization's main financial backer.On its website, the foundation says "the huge and in this form unique amount of donations has caused the delay of issuing contribution receipts" — which allow Germans to deduct donations from their taxes.Messages left for the foundation and for its president Motzkus were not immediately answered.The move by PayPal, a subsidiary of U.S. based online marketplace operator EBay Inc., came as another blow to the organization that has embarrassed Washington and foreign lders by relsing a cache of secret — and brutally frank — U.S. diplomatic cables.Wikis had become an Internet vagabond Friday, forced to move from one website to another as governments and s hounded the organization, trying to deprive it of a direct line to the public.EveryDNS — a company based in Manchester, New Hampshire, stopped directing traffic to the website late Thursday after it said cyber attacks thrtened the rest of its network.But while remained unrchable Saturday, the organization has found new homes. Its German website was rchable Saturday, and so was its Swiss domain.The Swiss address directs traffic to servers in France, where political pressure quickly mounted with Industry Minister Eric Besson on Friday saying it was unacceptable to host a site that "violates the secret of diplomatic relations."The web hosting company OVH confirmed that it had been hosting Wikis since rly Thursday, after a client asked for a "dedied server with ... protection against attacks," adding it was now up to the courts to decide on the legality of hosting the site on French soil.Wikis has been brought down numerous times this week by what appr to be denial-of-service attacks. In a typical such attack, remote computers commandeered by rogue programs bombard a website with so many data packets that it becomes overwhelmed and unavailable to visitors. Pinpointing the culprits is difficult. The attacks are relatively sy to mount and can be performed by amateurs.The attacks started Sunday, just before Wikis relsed the diplomatic cables. To dl with the flood of traffic, Wikis moved to's Web hosting facility.But Amazon booted Wikis from the site on Wednesday after U.S. congressional staffers started asking the company about its relationship to Wikis.The U.S. is currently conducting a criminal investigation into Wikis' relse of the diplomatic cables.Legal pressure also incrsed on Wikis founder Julian Assange after Swedish authorities revised a warrant for his arrest in response to procedural questions from British officials.British law enforcement authorities have refused to say if or when Assange would be arrested. His lawyers have said they believe they would be notified of any move to arrest him but had yet to be served with a warrant as of Friday afternoon.The 39-yr-old Australian is wanted on allegations of rape and other sex crimes that emerged after a trip to Sweden in August.

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