As more and more companies bend under government pressure, a few are standing up for the site.
December 10, 2010 |
Giants like PayPal, Amazon.com, Visa and MasterCard almost instantly crumbled under government (and p.r.) pressure to drop WikiLeaks, depriving the site of vital funding sources and online platforms. But other companies, some of them small, independent start-ups, have decided to risk the wrath of Joe Lieberman, the State Department, and their European counterparts and help keep WikiLeaks afloat by providing funding sources (yeah, you can now donate to WikiLeaks even if you only have Visa or MasterCard.) and hosting the site. Here's a list of companies that have stood by WikiLeaks:
The Philly online payment company has announced that unlike PayPal they welcome customer donations to WikiLeaks. According to their site, they're even waiving fees and charges so that 100% of the money goes to the whistleblower site. "While people may or may not agree with WikiLeaks, we at XIPWIRE believe that anyone who wishes to support the organization through a donation should be able to do so," they say on their site. While the publicity advantages are obvious, there's also the threat of backlash. One of the founders told the tech blog BaltTech, "We're fully aware that not everyone likes what Wikileaks is. But we are prepared to accept the consequences."
(For the moment the money goes to an escrow account because they haven't been able to reach WikiLeaks.)
Flattr, which was started by one of the founders of Pirate Bay, has also been funneling money to WikiLeaks. The site lets users put money into accounts; when they run into a website they want to support, they can click on their "flattr" button to donate money to site. According to TechCrunch
, WikILeaks has used Flattr since August and received over 3,000 Flattr donations when they released the Afghanistan war diary.
The Icelandic company processes debit and credit card donations to WikiLeaks, so Visa and Mastercards' recent decision to cut all donations to the site has not done great things for their business.
In a statement published on their site, CEO Andreas Fink slammed Visa for letting political considerations get in the way of customer service: "The suspension of payments towards Wikileaks is a violation of the agreements with their customers. Visa users have explicitly expressed their will to send their donations to Wikileaks and Visa is not fulfilling this wish."
Founder Ólafur Sigurvinsson pointed out in an interview with an Icelandic news channel, "I've got confirmed today that I am capable of supporting Al-Qaeda, Ku Klux Klan, buy weapons, drugs and all sorts of pornopraphy with a VISA card. But that's not being investigated. Instead I can not support a humanitarian organisation fighting for the freedom of speech."
WikiLeaks moved to the French data server OVH after getting kicked off Amazon. This did not sit well with French Ministry Eric Besson, who demanded that the site be purged from all French servers. Rather than instantly boot WikiLeaks offline, the company asked the courts to clarify Besson's order. Earlier this week a judge ruled that the French government had to actually prove that WikiLeaks broke the law, instead of just saying so and then trying to intimidate private companies. A company spokesperson said, "OVH is neither for nor against this site. Now that it’s with us, we will fulfill the contract. That’s our job.”
WikiLeaks relies on Twitter to communicate, and their account seems to be safe for now. The micro-blogging site has been accused of blocking #WikiLeaks and #Cablegate from the trending topics though, a claim they dispute.
Facebook recently released a statement saying that they have no plans to delete the WikiLeaks account, which has 1,187,990 fans.
Tana Ganeva is an AlterNet editor. Follow her on Twitter.
You can email her at email@example.com.
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