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Visa, MasterCard appear to have lifted WikiLeaks ban

WikiLeaks' financial blockade appears to have been lifted, at least temporarily, according to Iceland-based payment processor DataCell.

Editor's note: Please see update note at the end of this post, which includes a statement from Visa saying it has not reinstated DataCell.

WikiLeaks' financial blockade appears to have been lifted, at least temporarily.

Visa and MasterCard, which cut off payments to the secret-sharing site in December after it published hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. government documents, may have reversed course. CNET was the first to report that MasterCard pulled the plug.

There are some things you can't buy (at least until today) with MasterCard.

Iceland-based DataCell, which handles WikiLeaks payments, said today that it is now able to process Visa and MasterCard payments again. "Today we have observed that an alternative payment processor that we have contracted with, has in fact opened the gateway for payments with Visa and MasterCard, and now also for American Express Card payments, which is an option we did not had before," the company said in a blog post.

The news comes amid increasingly vocal threats by WikiLeaks over the last week to sue the credit card companies in Denmark for what it calls an "unlawful, U.S. influenced" interruption of service. (See this related video.)

It's not clear, however, whether WikiLeaks' threats are related to payments being permitted. Neither Visa nor MasterCard responded to requests for comment this afternoon from CNET.

Update 4:30 p.m. PT: Visa sent us this statement: "We have not reinstated DataCell and are looking into how transactions are being made."