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EFF calls for payment neutrality after PayPal U-turn


By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 14 Mar 2012 at 11:05

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called on payments companies to be neutral regarding what they will and won't accept payments for.

The move follows criticism of eBay's PayPal, which came under fire when it refused to process payments for self-published books it considered to be obscene.

The company has since backtracked on plans to block payments for books including child pornography, rape, bestiality or incest, and says it will now object only if the book include illegal images.

The furore – led by writers and consumers of adult books, who claimed the policy blocked access to legal material – has led to calls for payment neutrality from the EFF.

"The internet cannot be a true global forum for expression if private companies that provide communication and payment services operate as morality police," said EFF senior staff attorney Lee Tien.

"The internet is a global forum where ideas can be freely aired, exchanged, and criticised. We're especially pleased that PayPal will only target specific works and not entire websites."

As part of changes to its policy PayPal said it would focus on individual books rather than categories when choosing which titles to stop processing payments for.

Although it didn't explain who would read and make the decision on which books violated its policies, PayPal said it was negotiating with publishing groups to create an appropriate process.

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User comments

Sensible solution


What a strange sensation...

By dubiou on 14 Mar 2012

Morality Police?

apple has been playing morality police for years - but only selectively, because if they can make a buck out of something, they give it the green light.

By arthur_cabot on 15 Mar 2012


PayPal is just like the typical HMO - they are always looking for new ways to pocket other people's money.

By arthur_cabot on 15 Mar 2012

I'm behind PayPal

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but if PayPal thinks that child pornography (or other matter) is obscene and chooses not to use it, then I'm all for it. There are lots of alternative services out there they can use.

By Chatan on 15 Mar 2012

PayPals do whatever they choose!

It is up to any company who they do business with.

I would much prefer it if these individuals and groups with distorted views did not exist and PayPals and other facilitators did not service them. As they do, all I can do is choose other payment methods as a way of influencing things.

By absthame on 15 Mar 2012

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