Online payment company PayPal has begun cutting off accounts connected to Usenet services.
Usenet is an older form of the file-sharing sites that are now common on the internet. They are generally restricted to members and can be accessed in a number of ways aside from standard web browsers. They do not operate from centralised servers.
But perhaps most importantly, they are often used as a way of sharing files outside of the normal activity of the mainstream internet.
A number of Usenet providers have been informed that PayPal has frozen the funds in their accounts, TorrentFreak reports, citing copyright concerns as the cause. Changes to PayPal’s T&Cs also seem to target Newsgroups.
PayPal yesterday froze accounts relating to five Usenet resellers including XSUsenet, EasyUsenet and Usenet4U.
The news comes as PayPal is becoming increasingly aggressive in its dealing with file-sharing sites, demanding that users sign up to an increasingly strict set of agreement pertaining to copyrighted material.
UK site Putlocker had its account frozen several months ago after refusing to tell PayPal what files its users had been uploading.
“They basically wanted access to the backend to monitor all the files being uploaded, and listing all files of users if they wanted, regardless of the privacy setting that the user might have selected,” the site explained.
“This is a complete invasion of privacy on PayPal’s part, as it’s none of their business what files users keep in their account. We have a solid abuse handling policy already, and we don’t feel a third party company has any business snooping on our users,” the company added.