DataCell Wins Case Against Valitor

Words by

Published July 13, 2012

Reykjavík District Court ruled yesterday that Valitor – the company which manages Master Card and Visa in Iceland – must open payments from its costumers to DataCell, the company which manages donations to Wikileaks.
As reported, Wikileaks faced a number of financial obstacles in 2010. When Master Card and other companies began to block payments to the site, Icelandic hosting company Datacell began allowing Visa card-holders to donate to Wikileaks via the company.
However, Visa banned its card-holders from donating to Wikileaks, and Ólafur Sigurvinsson, the director of Datacell, was far from pleased. “I have confirmed today,” he told Mbl.is at the time, “that I can support Al-Qaida, the Ku Klux Klan, buy weapons and drugs and all kinds of porn with my Visa card. There is nobody investigating this, but I cannot support a human rights organisation which is fighting for freedom of expression.” Speaking to radio station Rás 2, Ólafur added, “This is a very serious breach, and not just of the contract that we have [with Visa] … now card-holders cannot decide for themselves where they spend their money.”
Viðar Þorkelsson, the director of Valitor, said that he had no opinion one way or the other of the work that Wikileaks does. Rather, Valitor contended that Datacell did not reveal right away that they were allowing a “payment gateway” for Visa card holders to donate to Wikileaks via Datacell. Datacell owner Ólafur Vignir Sigurðsson denied these allegations, contending that Datacell made it clear from the beginning that a payment gateway was open, and that money was going to be directed to Wikileaks.
As a result of the ban, Datacell announced then that they were planning to take Visa to court for breach of contract; specifically, for not fulfilling the wishes of its clients. That trial began late last month and, RÚV now reports, the court has found in DataCell’s favour.
The court ruled that Valitor must open its customers’ payments to Wikileaks within 14 days, or face a fine of 800,000 ISK for every day the payments remain closed. Sveinn Andri Sveinsson, the lawyer for DataCell, told reporters that the ruling was a victory for freedom of expression, stating that if Valitor decides to appeal, “it will be for political reasons; not legal reasons. If I were Valitor’s lawyer, I would not advise appealing.”
In the legal decision of the court on this case, posted online, the courts state that DataCell had informed Valitor that they were serving as a payment proxy to Wikileaks, and that the contract Valitor has with its customers is very clear on how they can use their money.
There is as yet no word on whether or not Valitor plans to appeal.



News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Wants To Make Iceland “Norway’s 20th County”

by

A group of Icelanders are aiming to have the country brought under the administration of the Norwegian government as “Norway’s 20th county”. The group in question, Fylkisflokkurin (“The County Party”), already has just over 1,200 members at the time of this writing. The group, formed by director of the National Center of Addiction Medicine (SÁÁ) and former Fréttablaðið editor Gunnar Smári Egilsson, purports in their mission statement that they aim for “the re-uninfication of Iceland and Norway”, wherein “the Norwegian government would constitutionally protect and promote Icelandic culture while Icelanders would enjoy all the same rights as Norwegians.” “Iceland is

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Air Mechanics Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement

by

An ongoing labour dispute that has most directly affected the tourist industry has been resolved. The Air Mechanics Union of Iceland (FVFÍ) has signed a collective bargaining agreement with Icelandair ehf., Vísir reports. The new contract will be in effect until August 31, 2017. As reported, air mechanics have over the summer pushed for higher wages and better working conditions, culminating in temporary work shut-downs. While some of these work stoppages lasted no more than a few hours, this was enough to prompt the cancellation of flights during the height of tourist season. Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir proposed passing

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Tick Bites Not Disease-Carrying

by

Epidemiologists say that there are no examples of ticks in Iceland carrying either Lyme Disease nor tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). MBL reports that neither of these diseases have been reported to be present in ticks in Iceland. Nonetheless, the Directorate of Health has laid out some helpful tips about ticks and how to deal with them. The Directorate of Health advises the general public to acquaint themselves with what ticks look like and where they can be found. If venturing into tick-risk areas, a person should cover their skin as much as they can, using common bug repellent on exposed parts

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

CONFIRMED: The Streetpooper Was A Tourist, No Longer Alleged

by

This morning, we posted an amusing bit of news about a local designer, Sara María Júlíusdóttir, who observed an elderly man, which she claimed to be a tourist, pooping outside the boutiqe she manages, Kirsuberjatréð. “Tourist Poops Outside Storefront” proved quite the hit with you readers, providing plenty of clicks and ‘likes’ (537 and counting!) while asserting Reykjavík Grapevine’s position as the discerning reader’s highbrow publication of choice. However, some of our many Facebook friends took offense to Sara María’s assertion that the streetpooper in question was indeed a tourist. “How did she know for sure it was a tourist?” one

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Iceland’s UN Rep: The Core Problem Is Israeli Occupation

by

Iceland’s representative at the United Nations, Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, condemned both Israel and Palestine in a speech at an open meeting of the Security Council last night, reports Vísir. “I want to start by expressing Iceland’s condemnation of the violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict,” said Gréta. “While the current situation in Gaza is beyond tragic I am not going to dwell on it. Because the core problem is not what is happening today. The core problem is the occupation.” In her speech Gréta said that the  IDF’s  air  and  ground  assault  raised concerns about respect for the

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Landslide Stops Traffic To Öskjuvatn

by

An incredibly large landslide struck the south-eastern side of Öskjuvatn lake just before midnight last night and all traffic to the area has subsequently been closed, report Vísir.  The landslide was so large it caused a tsunami in the lake and made the surrounding area tremor for over 20 minutes. The landslide is attributed to good weather in recent days which lead to ice around the lake melting quickly, causing the ground to destabilise. The ridge surrounding the lake is still believed to be unstable and landslips are possible. All traffic in and around the area has therefore been banned until scientists and Iceland’s Emergency

Show Me More!