Financial Censorship—Act as if it makes a difference
Recently, PayPal retracted a line in its terms and conditions stating that ‘spreading misinformation on the platform would be subject to a $2,500 fine.’ However, Forbes magazine has pointed out that PayPal can still fine users for anything they don’t like. A part of PayPal’s user agreement that says any customer in violation of the platform’s “acceptable use” policy is subject to a $2,500 fine has been in place since at least 2013, according to the website’s archive. The fine had largely gone unnoticed until earlier this month when PayPal updated its acceptable use policy to state that messages which are “fraudulent, promote misinformation or are unlawful” are in violation of the policy and, by extension, subject to the fine. The “acceptable use” policy stated that determinations of which messages violated the policy would be made at “PayPal’s sole discretion.”
For as long as anyone can remember, money been seen as a morally neutral medium for trade and the everyday exchange of goods and services. This being replaced by a full-spectrum politicisation of financial services, where digital payments are the means of increased surveillance, political censorship and coercion. Banks are removing branches and cash machines, supermarkets are removing point of sale machines that take cash, and big chains like Pret a Manger are digital currency only. Mastercard has published plans for a digital ID network. Paypal’s fines takes us closer to a Social Credit control system. Sweden has a credit card that will refuse payments if you go over a personal carbon emissions target. Elon Musk has spoken of using Twitter as part of a so-called “everything app” called X; similar to China’s WeChat, users are able to access social media, online shopping and money transfer, taxi hire, restaurant booking and more from within one app.
This is no time to put your trust in the authorities and hope everything turns out well.
- The Netherlands is proposing to track all transactions over 100 Euros.
- “The IMF’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, revealed that the UN’s major financial agency doesn’t like people using cash and wants to “change that preference”. Speaking at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meeting, Ms Georgieva bemoaned what she described as digital “hesitancy”. The IMF’s “capacity development experts on financial inclusion often see strong preference for cash”, she said, “even when viable electronic alternatives exist, like e-wallets, mobile money”. Shaking her head and frowning, she went on to ask: “Why are consumers not using these products?”
- Cecilia Skingsley, head of Innovation at the Bank for International Settlements, said a CBDC should come together with digital IDs, “to push society into new equilibriums.” Rishi Sunak is on record calling for Central Bank Digital Currencies to be developed.
The convenience of digital payments is not worth total surveillance of everyone at all times.
It’s difficult to know what difference they make, but there are actions that we can take:
- Essentially, cash is freedom. It is getting harder to use cash in everyday life, especially in large retailers, but it is worth the effort to keep it going. It might be the last chance you have to buy something from small, local retailers. They will to be the first to go.
- Reclaim the Net has a guide on deleting personal Paypal accounts.
- The Free Speech Union are urging everyone in the UK to contact their local MP and ask them to support New Clause 15 to the Financial Services and Markets Bill (tabled by Sally Ann Hart MP). Clause 15 is an amendment that would make it illegal for payment processing is like PayPal to close people’s accounts or to withhold service from customers on Purely political grounds. Payment services providers would not be able to demonetise individuals or organisations for exercising their lawful right to free speech. The Free Speech Union lobbying members of the UK parliament led to Paypal reversing their recent decisions (see below). Many people feel, justifiably, that writing to their MP changes little. However, campaigns like this can be a focus for generating resistance to repressive proposals, such as towards the Online Safety Bill.
- We can expect all parts of the financial regulatory system, such as the Financial Services Authority, to fully be in line with the digital currency/ financial surveillance agenda. Their policy positions will reflect it, and it should be possible to use Freedom of Information Act requests to reveal what those policies are.
- Similarly, it might be worth pressing the members of the Commons Treasury Sub-Committee on Financial Services Regulations (Chair Mel Stride MP) for their views on withdrawal of financial services for political reasons, etc.
The Overton window has shifted and many narratives are changing. Act as if it makes a difference.
Take Action: Support Clause 15:
We are urging everyone in the UK to contact their local MP and ask them to support New Clause 15 to the Financial Services and Markets Bill so that no payment services providers can demonetise individuals or organisations for exercising their lawful right to free speech.
Please follow the link below and use our tool to contact your MP today: https://freespeechunion.org/take-action/ (The Free Speech Union/YT)