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PayPal shuts out WikiLeaks

The popular online payment service "permanently restricts" the account hitherto used in fund-raising efforts by the controversial clearinghouse for leaked documents.

PayPal, the popular online payment service owned by eBay, has "permanently restricted" the account hitherto used in fund-raising efforts by WikiLeaks.

The service posted a short statement about the matter on its blog Friday:

WikiLeaks logo

"PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use 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. We've notified the account holder of this action."

WikiLeaks, meanwhile, updated its support page, crossing out the PayPal option.

WikiLeaks has been playing Internet hopscotch this week since it released to the media and posted on its site about 250,000 confidential cables sent by U.S. diplomats. Among many other things, the cables revealed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had ordered spying on U.N. officials.

U.S.-based EveryDNS.net killed the wikileaks.org domain on Thursday, saying service to its other customers was being threatened by huge floods of data aimed at the WikiLeaks domain by unknown parties and presumably designed to bring down the WikiLeaks site.

WikiLeaks responded by tweeting its numeric Internet address, It also found new homes at Swiss, German, and Finnish domains: wikileaks.ch, wikileaks.de, and wikileaks.fi, respectively.

Supporters of WikiLeaks see the site as a defender of transparency in government and of freedom of information. Critics, including some members of the U.S. Congress, say that through the release of its latest information, as well as releases earlier in the year of documents regarding U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the site is putting lives in jeopardy and undermining the national security of the United States. One congressional representative has gone so far as to say that WikiLeaks should be designated a terrorist organization.

For a thorough look at the latest uproar around WikiLeaks, see our roundup, "WikiLeaks, Assange feel the heat."