Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before a parliamentary committee to explain the credit companies’ refusal to process donations to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.
“People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” said Robert Marshall, chairman of Iceland’s allsherjanefnd, according to the Reykjavik Grapevine.
Vidar Thorkelsson, CEO of Valitor, which operates Visa and Mastercard in Iceland, said the Icelandic branch had nothing to do with the decision.
Meanwhile, DataCell, the Icelandic-Swiss web host is reporting that donations to Wikileaks have increased in recent days, despite the actions of Mastercard and Visa. The web host has been processing direct bank transfers to help facilitate the donations.
“The credit card companies are just not a part of the transfers,” said Olafur V. Sigurvinsson, a co-founder of DataCell, in an article on the website IceNews.is.Sigurvinsson went on to say people are upset over the credit card companies’ heavy-handed approach.
“It is simply a human rights organization with freedom of speech at its core and there are lots of people who have Visa cards and want to spend their money supporting exactly this issue. It is understandably irritating when some credit card company somewhere decides what you are allowed to spend your money on. Will they ba us from buying chocolate next?” Sigurvinsson said.
The company is planning legal action against the credit card giants, and Sigurvinsson said that several lawyers have stepped forward offering their services for free.