As some of you might already know Johnny Long’s Hackers for Charity organisation had some issue recently with PayPal putting a hold on their account. The reasons behind this were some outstanding paperwork issues. Although I undersand PayPal’s policy and process behind them locking that account, I personally found their actions to be particularly drastic considering the purpose behind this account. Johnny Long explains this in his blog the process and reasons for the account being blocked, and the process he had to go through to get this sorted.
For my part, I had a short conversation with the PayPal UK press firm regarding the locking of the account. Although the information given was minimal I did receive an official statement today from the PR firm regarding the issues.
A PayPal spokesperson said:
“At PayPal, we take security very seriously and have dedicated significant resources to protect the safety and financial information of our customers. Johnny Long’s nonprofit website, hackersforcharity.com, was temporarily put on hold while we reviewed documentation that verified the charity status of his organization.
After thorough review, PayPal has lifted the account hold and has ensured Johnny has full access to the funds in his account. We encourage our customers to raise donations for worthy causes, such as Johnny’s, and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused him or his family.”
Although I applaud PayPal for sorting the issue and getting Johnny back in business, it did take a lot of work from a lot of people to get to this point. The community that supports Johnny Long’s activites spent a great deal of effort getting the word out through social media, news groups, mailing lists and any other method possible. The calls, emails and complaints must have come flooding into PayPal from across the globe, as the community were made aware of the situation. Johnn makes reference to the “Twitterstorm” prompting PayPal to contact him in regards to the issue. Here’s hoping that the power of public opinion keeps the right people from having these sort of issues in the future.
The question remains what would PayPal have done without the threat of media response. Having dealt with PayPal before, I’m pretty sure that Johnny would still be waiting on a reply. That said, even Johnny admits that the process PayPal have to go through is not one to be envied. Mistakes were made on both sides. Personally I’d like to thank the community as a whole for getting behind this great project, and I encourage you to visit http://www.hackersforcharity.org/ to further support this worthy cause.