- 4:20 – (all times GMT+3) I received an email from the PayPal Executive office, apologizing for the problems, and clearly outlining what needed to be done to get our account straight. They said I needed to detatch my personal account (via return direct email) and confirm my business account (also via direct email) with a scan of an HFC business account statement.
- 6:07 – (Uganda telecom is < 5Kbsec earlier than this) I reply to the email with the authorization and the bank scan
- 6:13 – The first of many subscriptions attached to the personal account (support for our subscription software, sprout for our widgets, etc) begin to cancel, indicating that the account was removed from PayPal.
- 6:18 – The email arrives indicating that we’re back in action.
I want to thank everyone in the community that RT’d, emailed, called offered (prayer, financial, moral, humorous, haranguing) support and generally stood in the gap for us. You guys made this happen.
Some highlights of the day:
- offers for wire transfers
- Tweeting @CNN, @oprah, @msnbc, @paypal, @wsj, etc
- Tweeting the phone number of PayPal’s PR firm
- Emailing journalists
- Emailing various people inside PayPal including security, risk management folks and the CEO(!)
- Bans of PayPal
- Google Hacking PayPal (ironic)
Now as to PayPal’s role in all this…They have every reason to suspect that something’s amiss with just about every business account that’s requested. They are not (as many people have mentioned) a bank. I understand their screening, and honestly I wouldn’t want the job of tightening / lubricating their screening process. It’s ugly in the world of e-commerce. So I get it.
I will remain a PayPal client, and HFC will as well. No hard feelings.
Besides, I made mistakes in this whole thing. Yes, I should have waited for the IRS paperwork to come back before clicking that 501c3 button, or revealing that donations are tax-deductible (which they are, retroactively before the paperwork comes back). I should have checked the right button on the PayPal form. These things are all true, and there are other things I’ve done wrong and I’ll continue to screw some things up. But I’m not sorry I charged ahead, following my passion, fueled by the prayers, support and money of the community. Why? Because we’ve done a LOT while waiting on papers and processes. (More on that during my BH/DEFCON talk.) Yes, it’s reckless and unplanned and seat-of-the pants sometimes, but it’s coming together. The gaps are filled in by faith.
This whole thing had gotten me pretty down, and I found myself wondering what, exactly I had gotten myself (and my family) into. At conferences and such it’s easy to see that people dig what we’re doing but as the days tick by here in Africa, it’s not as easy to gauge.
But today bolstered me for the year to come. I’m not a lone-ranger crackpot…well, I am, but I’m certainly not alone in this.
Let me quote my friend Simple Nomad (by permission) from a personal email:
Fortunately our industry seems to value skills over everything else, and so for the most part people of different races, religions, sexual orientations, and hat color can talk shop and improve the world a little bit at a time.
Time and again, our community has proven that we can do things that the society at large can not. We can unite across barriers that restrict the rest of the world. In this age of intolerance and hatred, we move ahead, pushing the envelope and making the impossible possible.
Edison, Murgas, Babbage, Atanasoff, Meucci and Bell existed before the term “hacker” existed, but if they could see it, they would be proud of our community.
I know I am.
Thank you everyone for the support.
so does this mean I should cancel the botnet time I purchased to DDOS Paypal?!?
Yay!!! I’m so relieved and excited to hear this! Absolutely wonderful new and congratz on getting it all taken care of. Now you can focus on the important work you went there to do. Namaste, friend.
And all it took was some patience and a prayer. Glad everything worked out. =)
Awesome. This is great news. Congrats.
johnny… glad everything worked out. i also have a 501c3, so if there’s anything i can do to help while you’re waiting for the papers, let me know.
I was worried about this all night.
“Swords and rifles cleaned and at the ready when next you call.” — Marine Forces Commander to President Nixon
I just wanted to add, we overcome those odds internally. But what I think was demonstrated today was the fact that we unite against anything that we feel is hindering the bettering of the world. I mean, what is our field all about at it’s core? Securing (making better) that which the world has come to depend on.
I’m glad that all it took were a few hours of words. Thanks again for what you are doing over there.
Now get your paperwork sorted :)
Glad to see you will be at DEFCON.
Phwew! I really didn’t want the follow-up story to be “Johnny Long and family moving to Uganda to help others, but winding up in need of help themselves… ” Glad it’s sorted out and glad to see you still have a strong community of supporters. Hope all (else) is well!
No surprise to me how this worked out. Bet PayPal had no idea what they got themselves into on this one! Sorta reminds me of Ant Bully. Always thought that movie would have been a lot more interesting had Lucas stepped on a fire ant mound! Talk about getting NOTICED! ;-)
You should be on such a high right now, knowing you are SO not alone over there!
Grats man, glad it all got worked out, all the best!
Congrats to you Johnny!!
Congrats, I’ve done some volunteer work in 3rd world countries but nothing like what you’re doing – amazing, incredibly admirable!!
that will be all.
The community really is amazing. You may be a crackpot, but you are are definitely not alone.
So glad this issue was resolved, thought we might have to march to war on PayPal =P j / k
Btw, anyone else notice the first time stamp 4:20 hehe
Keep up the good fight Johnny!
Glad that it all worked out for you and good to see that you accept some of the blame :) Would have loved to see nomad tweet oprah tho :)
Thats the best news all day ! !
See you soon . ….
Keep up the Great Work
Yes! You finally cleared the hurdle.
Hey, don’t feel worn down by this incident. Treat it as a useful experience as you move along this journey. One day, this experience of yours will surely come in handy to tackle other issues. :)
In the meantime, go go go!!! *lock n load* :)
Relieved and happy for you. I am also oversees in thailand when they froze my account. Paypal did it to protect me when nothing was actually wrong and it took lots of phone calls to get it back. I used skype.com and called the 800 number so it didn’t cost me much money.
happy your family is ok now.
Glad to hear things worked out in the end. I was actually meeting with RSnake tonight and mentioned what was going on and he was gonna contact the CIO at PayPal on your behalf. Sounds like that’s no longer necessary, but it’s always nice to know that you’ve got people who are willing to go the distance to help out a friend. Best of luck with your charity work.
“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost
I’m glad everything worked out! So quickly, too!
I have to admit, the people here are pretty amazing. Good stuff.
As an Iowa State alum, I was proud to see your mention of John V. Atanasoff.
Keep working for HIS kingdom.
Glad to see it worked out. God bless!
1. get paypal to freeze assets
2. tell ppl
God Bless this man………simple as that.
and i thought enabling google’s latitude was bad :)
GL and god bless you.
God is good…
when your non-profit is approved and you receive your number, you will want to register with guidestar.org. You will also receive more of your donations using either justgive.org or nationalchristianfoundation.org
Good is on your side J, and THAT trumps all in the long run. You jjust audited another course in the college of life is all with this PayPal mess. And hopefully they learned as well that they need to be more responsive before they hold others’ monies hostage. Imagine all the interest they earn in just one day on the millions that may be detained for one reason or another! PAYPAL “CAVED”. You are mainstream now dude!
It is a relief to hear this. The hacker community is in full support behind you.
Great News, Please keep up the great work that you and HFC do.