So if you want to make money on the Internet, good luck, because the government is determined to make it that much harder for you. Specifically, the Department of Justice is launching a program called Operation Choke Point, which as its name implies, is basically aimed at choking off the ability for entrepreneurs to use the modern tools of commerce for legal businesses selling a product if it falls afoul of the administrationâ€™s moralistic, technologically illiterate worldview.
Just as President Obama complained about ATMs taking jobs away from bank tellers, this administration seems determined to stop various forms of business that have been part of America for decades from going online, for no clear reason other than, we suspect, theyâ€™re afraid some innovator might profit from it. That means theyâ€™re going after online firearms salesmen, online creditors, online credit repair agencies, online loans, online raffles, online tobacco salesmen, online charities, online marketers, and more.Â
Long story short, if you sell or buy anything that the government has ever wanted to regulate â€” ever â€” this will probably affect you.
Hereâ€™s how: When you buy stuff on the Internet or authorize direct withdrawals from your bank account to pay a bill, it often has to be handled by whatâ€™s called a Third Party Payment Processor. These are basically businesses who exist to handle payments between banks and retailers, and when you input your payment info, itâ€™s their job to go to the bank itself and actually get your money, whether for a one-time payment or a recurring one.
The problem comes when people are irresponsible in how they handle their accounts and sign up for things like monthly recurring payments for porn, or give illegal online gambling sites access to their bank accounts. Almost all of which is their own fault, but donâ€™t tell the administration, which is on a warpath against Third Party Payment Processors for doing their jobs and collecting money that they were told to collect in the first place.
The Department of Justice claims theyâ€™re only going after people for fraud. And yeah, no one likes fraud, and thereâ€™s a lot of it on the Internet, involving every business under the sun. But this DOJ tends to take semi-reasonable problems and come down on them like a hammer, when a scalpel is whatâ€™s needed. Witness the fact that they sued iTunes for no other reason than that they thought they were getting unfairly good deals. Moreover, this DOJ especially has a tendency to overstep its legal bounds (and, in fact, might have already done so in this operation). Forget a reactionary congressman that sees something in the news and yells â€œthere ought to be a lawâ€ in the hope of getting a headline. No, this DOJ is using its power to intimidate and bully. Trusting them to stop when the job is done, and not go further than they have to would be extremely naive.
And thatâ€™s not even getting into the criteria they use to determine which merchants are â€œhigh riskâ€ which they name in vaguely defined subcategories. Essentially, youâ€™re just supposed to take their word for it. More to the point, a lot of the industries being targeted, like firearms and tobacco, are industries that have fallen afoul of the administration. How is anyone supposed to trust a DOJ as nakedly political as this one to treat those industries fairly?
I cannot stress this enough: If you have ever thought of selling your gun secondhand on Gunbroker, are an aficionado of online gambling sites, created a Kickstarter project that might offend someone, run a charity out of your home, or just manufacture artisanal bongs on Etsy, this could affect you. Bottom line: The DOJ wants to control who can and canâ€™t get money according to vague standards that are ripe for abuse. Some Third Party Payment Processors might engage in shady practices, for which they should be targeted, but thereâ€™s absolutely no way you should trust Eric Holder to handle your money better than you can. Is your business in jeopardy?
You might already be being targeted.
18 thoughts on “Justice Department Attacks Internet Commerce (marketers mostly)”
I’m glad I’m not the only one who is taking notice of the totally absurd policy. I can’t even put into words how dumb it is.
I could discuss this at such length…many, many companies are going under right now because of it.
It’s up to us, the people of the world to stand up to these parasites. They produce no value and they aim to take what you’ve rightfully earned by means of coercion and force.
If you don’t like this constant lawlessness being deployed by government, stop paying them. Your votes and dollars are an admission of power to their will, regardless of party affiliation.
I’m not calling for complete anarchy, but I think we all agree liberty is the only recourse for a peaceful and productive society. There is no room for unchecked power and litigious people who’s only aim is to regulate.
Things like this is exactly why I am a libertarian. The government is always into things they have no business being a part of.
So they’ve shifted from lets support those in need and the unemployed to oh let’s go after those employed? It is a bunch of fucking crap. I was unemployed for two and half years during the recession and just found something that works for me about six months ago online. Looks like I’ll be back to the drawing board.
Better watch out, Shoe, the NSA is watching/listening and they’re coming after you next!
The IRS has been notified!
Really?!?! This is worthless fight. Yes there are a few scumbags out their online and just as many idiots (who half probably deserve to be taken advantage of) but this is a capitalist society. This is how things work and succeed. It isn’t always ‘fair’.
No sir. It is supposed to be a capitalist society but that’s part of the hope and change Obama promised. We’re living in the nanny state where the government monitors everything we do all the time. Of course it’s for our own good. Otherwise, we might get caught thinking for ourselves. And King Obama won’t allow that.
I hate the government.
High risk is their qualifier for this? What the hell does that even mean? It could mean anything.
Is there anything we can do to stop this?
Like they always said, there’s power in numbers! everybody needs to stand up at once instead of one at a time. and the ones that just talk need to shut up and stand for Somthing.
Reading your article on “Justice Department Attacks Internet Commerce (marketers mostly)” I found it very informative. Thanks for your own opinion on this topic. Look forward to read more article on this topic.
Yes, what else is new with this administration and our government in general. They know what’s good for us! No need to let us decide for ourselves -they know better!
Control! Control! Control!
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Looks like not everybody loves internet marketing.
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