UPDATE: Visa and MasterCard funding returns to WikiLeaks via French payment gateway

WikiLeaks and its partner FDNN are unsure how long the new payments gateway will remain open

By Loek Essers, IDG News Service |  IT Management, Wikileaks

People who want to donate can do so by paying an amount to FDNN. WikiLeaks is not the only organization FDNN accepts funding for. On the donation part of the organization's site, donors can also choose to benefit four other projects via a pull-down menu, including La Quadrature du Net, an advocacy group defending rights of citizens on the Internet, and April, a French advocacy group that promotes and protects open source software.

The amount entered on the site will be recorded as a promise to make an immediate donation using a credit card, FDNN said. The donor will then be directed to the website of FDNN's French bank, where the payment can be made. "Thus, we will never have your credit card information, which is a warranty to be safe for you," the organization states.

The donors' data that is passed to the bank consists of the date, the amount, the transaction number, the merchant's name ("FDNN") and the email address used. A check of the Web form's source code shows that the destination organization is not passed on to the bank.

In addition to announcing the new donation system, WikiLeaks published a report about the impact the blockade had on its finances. For 2011, WikiLeaks' income fell to just 21 percent of its operating costs, according to data provided by the Wau Holland Foundation, a nonprofit foundation in Germany that handles transfers and donations to WikiLeaks.

The organization has run on its cash reserves at the Wau Holland Foundation, which decreased from ¬800,000 (US$982,000) at the end of December 2010 to less than ¬100,000 at the end of June 2012, WikiLeaks said, adding that its reserve funds will probably expire within a few months. "In order to effectively continue its mission, WikiLeaks must raise a minimum of ¬1 million immediately," it said.

WikiLeaks is fighting the payment blockade on different fronts. An Icelandic court ordered last Thursday that payments processor Valitor had to reopen a gateway hosted by DataCell for Visa and MasterCard donations to WikiLeaks. Valitor was ordered to reopen the handling of Visa and MasterCard donations within two weeks. However, the gateway will probably remain closed while Valitor appeals the case.

DataCell also filed a complaint about the WikiLeaks payment blockade with the European Commission. A decision from the Commission on whether or not to pursue financial companies that are blocking donations is expected before the end of August. WikiLeaks is also involved in similar litigation against Danish payments processor Teller.

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