6 June 2013
PayPal bans VPN provider GT Guard
Ok, we are about a month behind on this one, but we thought you might be interested as the issue remains on-going. At the end of April, PayPal withdrew its service from German VPN provider GT Guard, freezing its assets as it did so.
PayPal has always taken a hard line when it comes to banning organizations that are seen to promote copyright infringement, including BitTorrent websites, file hosting services, and Usenet providers. GT Guard however is a VPN (and proxy) provider, which is perfectly legal, and is not usually subject to PayPal’s ban. However, the company did advertise its services as allowing BitTorrent downloading while avoiding throttling from ISPs (although initial complaints from PayPal instead focused on links to adult websites, which a violation of its Terms of Service, and only switched to GT Guard’s BitTorrent associations later on).
Update 10 June: We contacted GT Guard to find out what the current situation is, and received the following reply:
“The issue with paypal is closed ,at least for paypal! GTGuard’s account are not going to be re-opened.But i was able to get the outstanding ballance from that account. The business is smaller right now, but I will get back soon. Still taking bitcoins and EU transactions, but working on other options for soon to be members if they are interested.
We wish GT Guard the best of luck in the future.
Jordan blocks 200 new websites
On Sunday the government of Jordan started blocking websites that failed to comply with new amendments to its Press and Publications Law 2012. Some 281 websites are currently said to be affected, with many of them falling outside the category of ‘local broadcasters’ covered by the amendments: “some of the more prominent pages that have apparently been blocked by the government include Qatari news portal Al Jazeera, Time Out magazine, erotic publication Penthouse and the site of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan” *.
The new laws require all news websites (‘local broadcasters’) be legally registered with the Press and Publications Department (PPD), and they must be members of the Jordan Press Association. They have met fierce resistance from within Jordan, and in August last year prompted 1000 Jordanian websites to stage a blackout. Press freedom and civil liberties groups have expressed outrage at the situation, with the Jordanian Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists describing the law as “storm[ing] the freedom of electronic media”.
It seems likely, as in other countries where the government has implemented wide ranging censorship laws, that many Jordanians will turn to VPN and other similar methods to allow them unrestricted access to the world media.