Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Arbitrary and Orwellian - Amazon Payment Services blacklists Open Digital with no reason given

As we continue to explore ways to fund our policy research I decided to create an Amazon Payments Account.  Among the options we're considering is publishing a book on the privacy issues discussed on this blog and my own blog,

I was shocked to find this morning, having provided the necessary bank account details, credit card security and telephone/email verification that we had been arbitrarily refused an account, the reason given:
"It has come to our attention that your desired use of Amazon Payments may be in violation of our Acceptable Use Policy or User Agreement"
What shocks me is that I provided very scant information as to what we planned to to with our Amazon Payment's account.

This snap decision highlights the powerful position that a few dominant technology businesses hold over small enterprises, advocacy and research groups alike.

I have asked Amazon for clarification.

Update 13-March:

Amazon have responded with my request for clarification. It seems the refusal was due to their terms and conditions, which prohibit the sale of non-physical goods.  Since our website wasn't selling any physical goods, we were refused an account.

This explanation makes a lot of sense, and I wonder whether it might not be in everyone's interests for Amazon to be clear in their letter of refusal the reasons for refusal.

Without an explanation the decision looks, as per the title of this blog post, arbitrary and Orwellian.

James Firth


  1. Time to start using Bitcoin instead, then.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.