back to article Anonymous, LulzSec go legit with PayPal boycott

Hactivist collective Anonymous has called for a boycott of PayPal. The group wants supporters to empty their accounts and avoid using the payment service in protest against the prosecution of a university student who allegedly participated in denial of service attacks against PayPal last year. Mercedes Haefer, a 20-year-old …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Since when has a protest such as this had any effect on a criminal prosecution? That's not how the law works and they know it. Their problem is that they have painted themselves into a corner. Their preferred action is to launch illegal attacks, but that's hardly going to work as a protest against a prosecution for doing exactly that is it?

    I suspect that this will demonstrate to these "hackers" exactly how much support they have when it makes not a dent in Paypal's accounts.

  2. Chris Haynes

    Already binned them off

    I stopped using PayPal's 'service' last year when they declined to delete my account until I proved to them I was a business by sending them "the required documentation", which they never defined. I'm not a business but they won't convert it to a personal account until I prove to them I'm not a business by providing them with "the required documentation"... Ah, you see where this is going.

    Bunch of fuckweasels.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    How about bitcoins instead?

    It's all very well to boycott paypal providing there's a decent alternative.

    The only thing out there at the moment is bitcoins, so check this out:

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I (and likely many others) have been boycotting PayPal for years after being screwed over by them. If any actions by Anonymous manage to get one over on PayPal then I'm all for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plenty of alternatives available

      There are plenty of alternatives to Paypal and I wouldn't class Bitcoins as one of them (not yet anyway). My most preferred method of online payment is paying directly by credit/debit card, no middle man involved = less hassle. I have used Google Checkout as well and it seems like a worthy competitor to Paypal. Paypal can rot in hell as far as I'm concerned, burned by them once to the tune of £80 and never used them again.

      1. sabroni Silver badge


        ..cos every site on the web can be trusted with your debit card details.

        1. Benjamin 4


          That's why there's a thing called third party payment providers! (Worldpay for just one example). You don't just give your card details to random sites.

          Is the fail referring to your statement?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Plenty of alternatives available

        "paying directly by credit/debit card, no middle man involved"

        So then, you were unaware that Visa suspended payments to Wikileaks a while back, as did Master Card and Bank of America. Kind of looks like there are middle men involved there as well, no?

    2. kellerr13

      Protest -vs- prosecution

      If the protest do not and have not had any effect, then protest serve no purpose other than to waste time. Right now, it's on of the few ways people can respond to things. However, if they do not function as you say, and people want results, the only alternative is to use other illegal means.

      When law enforcement and / or the courts use the law as a weapon, their acts may be legal, but are not lawful, and as a result of that are criminalistic in nature...They cease to hold validity.

    3. Jedit


      Game over, BitCoin seller.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Well I been boycotting them for even longer!

      I never even signed up for an account with them.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free him!

    "Mercedes Haefer, a 20-year-old JOURNALISM STUDENT at the university of Nevada, is among around 14 people facing HACKING charges"

    Give him a break, he needed experience to get a job at the News of the World.

    1. NeverMindTheBullocks

      It's not him

      It's her.

      Mercedes is a girls name.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's not her

        It's it.

        Mercedes is a car brand's name. (scnr)

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: It's not her

          Which is also a girl's name. Mercedes Jellinek, daughter of Emil Jellinek the Daimler designer, to be precise.

      2. Shonko Kid

        "Mercedes is a girls name"

        Mercedes' are a girl's car.

        Fixed it for ya!

  6. Kipper


    Hmmm... smacks of a plot to get a list of accounts and people to investigate....

    1. NeverMindTheBullocks

      If it is....

      Then they are going to have their work cut out. According to the Anonymous IRC twitter feed they have over 20k accounts closed so far.

  7. Goffee

    Phase Two

    Hope there's no money in my account (which I can't delete as its the only method some of my bosses use) when they gear up for the main attack

  8. fLaMePrOoF

    Why not try a legal DDOS...

    If you can garner enough support it is possible to organise a perfectly legal DDOS attack, all it would take is several 100K people performing continuous legitimate activity on the site through a single browser session...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Note to the kiddies:

      If a company does not have enough bandwidth to cope with legitimate traffic, that's their problem.

      If a group of people get together to discuss bringing down a site by flooding it with requests (even if manually generated), that's conspiracy. If they then implement their plans, that's a Denial of Service. Both are illegal in most countries.

    2. anonymous29992

      Legal DDoS

      Anonymous has only 50k right now so if we were to do that which most likely we wouldnt we would need 50k more people

  9. Scott Herter

    So let me get this straight...

    You want us to stop using PayPal to support people who tried to forcibly prevent us from using paypal.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Paypal are worried - not.

    450 accounts gone - bet Paypal are worried with only 243 million left. I bet more than 450 people signed up with Paypal worldwide in the time it took you to read this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lets not get ahead...

      This is also assuming that these accounts are 1) Really gone (IMO these 'hackers' tend to exaggerate quite a bit) and 2) That any closed account is actually related to this (there are plenty of people seeing the light every day).

  11. Anonymous Coward

    please donate to help with the legal/travel expenses of the accused...

    ... paypal button coming soon!

  12. DrXym Silver badge

    So to get this straight

    Some idiot tries to DDOS PayPal and is being prosecuted for it. But this is somehow a bad thing so therefore boycott PayPal?

    I'm sure there are many legit reasons to boycott PayPal but this seems like a pretty stupid one.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Who wants paypal anyway?

    In the beginning it was an excellent way to pay on the internet without having to use a creditcard. Simply because I could transfer money onto my paypal account, and then do with it whatever I wanted. iirc (its been a while) you could also transfer the money back, but obviously I never did that.

    I stopped using paypal right after they demanded full access to my bank account. Right now that is the only way to transfer money to a paypal account from Holland. Not by doing it yourself; but telling them to "transfer xx from bank account", but then nothing is stopping them from transferring an amount of yy or even xxx. Sure; you can tell the bank that something went wrong and hopefully they'll solve it, but why take the risk ?

    Paypal used to be awesome wrt security because you could stash a predetermined amount of cash. So even if something did go horribly wrong you knew up front what amount you risked losing. But now they need to have your creditcard info stored or they need to have full access to your bankaccount.

    Well, that was when I canceled my account since I no longer saw any advantages. After all; if I would be using my creditcard (which details got stored anyway) to pay, why not simply directly pay the company I was purchasing from? (I don't 'just' use my card all over the net anyway).

    1. Gerhard Mack

      easy to fix

      No one says they need access to an account you actually keep money in. I have an account I transfer money into when I want to make purchases on Paypal but the rest of the time it's empty.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Moneybookers instead of PayPal?

    Isn't Moneybookers a viable alternative to PayPal? At least they fall under EU law instead of US law so the legal framework isn't extremely dodgy/abusive.

    1. Tim #3

      potentially a good idea

      Haven't tried it but just had a shufty at their site & it looks good to me. Is there anyone on here actually using it who could comment on the pros & cons?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Legal aspects

      Paypal has a banking licence for its subsidiary in Luxemburg. It was required to do so by the European Commission because it was providing banking services.

      Given SEPA I really don't see the need for Paypal in Europe. The few times I've used it I found it to be more of a hindrance than a help.

  15. Dibbles

    I'm so confused...

    On the one hand, I don't want to use Paypal because it's expensive and a borderline scam setup - and doesn't even work very well!. On the other, I'm being asked not to use it to support some doofus who really should know better.

    On balance, I'm almost tempted to go back to using Paypal just to prove a point!

    1. Tom 13

      Here's a thought for you:

      Use it or based on whether it suits your purposes, not on how it relates to this or that other social cause.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Lulzsec likes to refer to people as peons. Follow their instructions mindlessly and you become just that.

  17. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Do as we say, but not as we do.... is a crock and can be crooked advice?

    The following, which can be read as a supplementary note on some information provided on an Affidavit for Search warrant of a premises in Texas, used by one of the alleged Anonymous perps. ....."This blog post, which as of January 21, 2011, was still on the Paypal blog stated "PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by Wikileaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to emgage in illegal activity. We've notified the account holder of this action. .... page 13 [Pdf 14/36] .... " ...... reveals the crass hypocrisy of PayPal's stance in stating their services "cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to emgage in illegal activity." whenever Ebay and PayPal are joined at the hip and would be a part of each other, and Ebay easily facilitates the fencing of stolen goods, which is the laundering of money and ill gotten gains, and as has been reported, and is widely known on the street/in the hood, too? ........

    An inconvenient truth indeed, which is making a mockery of the law and justice, and rendering it a complete ass?

  18. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Still can't get rid of PayPal

    Cleared my account, then cancelled my credit card, and they STILL keep sending emails

  19. Oninoshiko

    OK, so ten out of ten for figuring out how to properly protest

    but minus several million for screwing it up for so long.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Losers the whole bunch

    Trying to gain public support is futile for these criminals.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous actually loves PayPal.

    There. It was all a misunderstanding. (Anybody can claim to be with "Anonymous".)

  22. Jason Bassford

    I'm still getting a kick out of any news story involving this "group".

    As the last news story made clear, there is no membership list - and even among those who "belong" there is no standard of shared believe. (One person can say / believe something the opposite of another.) So, to try to claim that "the group Anonymous" thinks something is worth less than the paper the report is printed on (or the screen it's displayed on). At best, some people claiming to belong to this group are making this claim. So, every time I see an article about this group now - with the slant that "this is what Anonymous believes / is doing", I just shake my head and laugh. Even if there WERE a "membership" list of some kind, and a group of people who all belonged and felt the same way - the fact that they *are* anonymous (the word, not the group) makes it impossible to give any credence to anything in the real world. Mainly because there's no way of knowing who it is saying something and, therefore, no way of responding to them in any way. From where I sit, none of this means anything.

  23. Old Handle

    Want to *really* hurt PayPal?

    Help people find (or help create) a better alternative. It can't be that hard. PayPal really isn't that great, for alot of reasons.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done geniuses

    To the people who 'deleted' their paypal account: dumb*sses. Accounts are rarely actually deleted from a database, they're flagged as 'inactive' or 'inaccessible' to most users and the details are kept for marketing/validation purposes. Mainly 'cos you get people saying "whoops, I didn't mean to do that, can you re-instate me?".

    Now, if PayPal is against anonymous and 450 people have 'deleted' their accounts then...the likes of the FBI and their ilk now have 450 new leads as to the identities of anonymous users. Well done. Geniuses.

  25. Atonnis


    I've used PayPal for years and years without a single problem. They've always returned my funds when a dispute arose and they've always given pretty good service.

    Protesting at the attempted prosecution of a possible criminal is hardly worthwhile as a cause. Although if the person is innocent then appropriate compensation should be made if they are found not guilty.

    If this Mercedes person is actually guilty of a crime, then Anonymous are just going to label themselves as criminal-supporters. It's not a good idea for them, as their mission (when they first started) was in defence of the general public against abuses (like scientology) - and they generated alot of sympathy for that reason.

  26. anonymous29992

    The truth about Anonymous

    The truth about Anonymous is that we are NOT hacktivists while some of our members are hackers most of us prefer the legal spreading of the message through twitter, youtube and other social medium including real life. Those who hack in the name of Anonymous do so without Anonymous support. Stop the Lies Cointelpro

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