PayPal users close accounts after Cryptome attack

Online money service loses business, restores whistleblower's account

PayPal users have reacted angrily to the suspension of Cryptome's account by the e-payment company and are using Cryptome's website to display their emails, cancelling their PayPal accounts.

Although PayPal has now restored Cryptome's account, it was suspended for several days following Microsoft's action against the whistle-blowing site and the temporary shutdown of Cryptome by its hosting company.

Faced with criticism over its heavy-handed approach, Microsoft claimed afterwards that it had not wished Cryptome to be shut down.

"While Microsoft has a good faith belief that the distribution of the file that was made available at that address infringes Microsoft's copyrights, it was not Microsoft's intention that the takedown request result in the disablement of web access to the entire cryptome.org website on which the file was made available," said the company's counsel, Evan Cox.

But while the Cryptome was quickly back up, the freezing of the PayPal account took over a week to be restored. According to a story in The Register, the freezing of the account had been because "PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy clearly states that we don't allow PayPal to be used for items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity."

However, in an increasingly tetchy email conversation with "Stephanie" from PayPal, Cryptome's John Young pointed out that nothing that Cryptome does is illegal, otherwise it would have been shut down by the authorities.

The spat has not gone down well with PayPal users, several of whom have posted their dissatisfaction with the service on the Cryptome website. One user, A5 wrote, " I will be closing my PayPal account, as well. My reasons for taking such action is simply that I wish to express my objections to the gross lack of openness, fair play, and responsibility demonstrated by the mishandling of the situation that cropped up with Cryptome".

It remains to be seen whether many more of PayPal's users follow suit.

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Maxwell Cooter

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