Mastercard Taking on Functions of Courts?
According to an article on the MyCE (My Consumer Electronics) Website, the RIAA ( Recording Industry Association of America) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have recruited Mastercard to "govern" the Internet.
According to the article, Mastercard will in essence stop payments made to websites who the RIAA and MPAA claim to violate their copyrights. While technically this can all be done according to the law, it seems to be a big issue of anti-trust and at least violation of due process.
Only because the RIAA and MPAA claim someone is involved in illegal practices does not automatically mean that this are indeed the facts. There are enough cases which do not lead to convictions, and even a lot of settlements do not mean that indeed a law was broken. A lot of people just settle out of intimidation and fear of high legal costs.
Companies like Visa and Mastercard on the other hand have pushed themselves into monopolies in the markets of transactions. Furthermore, as the issue with wikileaks has shown, they are easily influenced by the pressure of one particular government, the United States of America.
Most small Internet businesses cannot survive being barred to received financial transactions via credit cards. Hence, if they are falsely accused and such accusations mean they cannot operate, they will without doubt be very fast insolvent.
Normally, our modern societies have a court system that deals with these issues. The court systems are supposed to give due process to both sites. This means, a falsely accused individual or organisation is able to answer the charges leveled at them, and does not have to fear insolvency while doing so. When corporations with monopolistic powers start to assume powers that constitutionally are reserved for the court system, it means that a very important column of democracy is under threat.
Therefore, commerce committees of legislatures urgently need to investigate if Mastercard (and other financial corporation that surely will follow) is illegitimately assuming powers it should not have in our forms of societies. Furthermore, it is inevitable to investigate if anti-trust legislation is violated by such actions.
In particular all non-US governments also need to think about the fact that a couple of US corporations have the power to severely influence commerce in their countries. Without doubt this could be a threat of national security and independence for those countries. Maybe it is time to require that the financial systems need to be split up in order to avoid a couple of powerful actors that can rule almost the whole world.