Saturday, June 05, 2021

Privacy organization calls on PayPal to 'do better' after man's account closed

The privacy-oriented Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling on PayPal, the online payment processing organization, to "do better by its customers," after the company shut down one customer's account – without explanation. The EFF said PayPal specifically should be publishing transparency reports, revealing how it determines punishments, then provide "meaningful notice" to users who may, or may not, have strayed outside guidelines, and have a reasonable appeal process. The organization said the issue arose because of the cancellation of the account of Larry Brandt, a "long-time supporter of internet freedom." He has used PayPal for years to support Tor servers, which are set up to provide anonymity for web users. The technology allows people to anonymously send and receive traffic, and the EFF said its analysis confirms those operations are legal under U.S. law. He was unable to get help from PayPal, so reached out to EFF, the organization reported. It reviewed his activity and "found no evidence of wrongdoing that would warrant shutting down his account," but PayPal still was unresponsive to the requests for help."Given that the overwhelming majority of transactions on Brandt’s account were payments for servers running Tor nodes, EFF is deeply concerned that Brandt’s account was targeted for shut down specifically as a result of his activities supporting Tor," the group said. It only got a response that the account closure was unrelated to Tor, and a confirmation that no appeal was possible. The Tor Project also said, "This is the first time we have heard about financial persecution for defending internet freedom in the Tor community. We're very concerned about PayPal’s lack of transparency, and we urge them to reinstate this user’s account. Running relays for the Tor network is a daily activity for thousands of volunteers and relay associations around the world. Without them, there is no Tor – and without Tor, millions of users would not have access to the uncensored internet."...MORE

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