PayPal Blocks VPN service iPredator and freezes assets

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

July 25, 2013

paypal barsWe have already reported that Swedish VPN provider iPredator has been having troubles after being blocked by the payment provider Payson. Well, it now seems that PayPal has joined in fun, and has told iPredator that it can no longer accept payments, and that its funds are to be frozen for the next six months.

PayPal has offered no explanation for this move, stating simply that there was ‘an issue with the account’. It well known that the global ecommerce company takes a tough stance on organizations deemed to be involved in copyright piracy, but iPredator offers a perfectly legal service that anonymises users’ behavior on the internet.

That some customers may use this anonymity to download copyrighted material is hardly the responsibly of iPredator, who are basically providing a service that protects ones of people’s most basic human rights – that of privacy. It possible that because iPredator was set up by Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, its relatively high profile is drawing unwelcome attention from anti-piracy groups.

Although both Visa and MasterCard have denied involvement in the earlier block by Payson, Peter Sunde believes that some form of conspiracy is taking place, a belief supported by the fact that iPredator seems to have been put on a blacklist of companies that are not allowed to accept credit card payments;

‘One processor we talked with, to replace Payson, told us that we were on a blacklist of services that are prohibited to accept credit cards. This apparently happened shortly after Payson announced it could no longer process MasterCard and Visa payments for VPN providers’.

What Sunde finds particularly frustrating is the lack of transparency. That no explanations have been offered by Payson or PayPal makes arguing with them impossible, and while Visa and MasterCard deny that iPredator is blocked by them, they have also been unable to confirm that iPredator is allowed to process credit card payments. ‘It’s a sad day for democracy when third parties interfere with legal business, and then lie about it. This is typically something we hope someone leaks so we can see what they are morally censoring’ says Sunde.

Unable to process credit card or PayPal payments, iPredator now accepts more unusual payment methods, including Bitcoin.

Update 27/08/2013:The  Payson wallet feature is available to iPreditor customers, but they no longer accept credit card payment. Following publicity about the story, PayPal has reinstated iPredator’s account. Now iPredator is one of the first services to be banned by Paysafecard’s crackdown on VPNs.

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