PayPal won't run transactions referring to tardigrades

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/11/paypal-wont-run-transactions.html

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In other news… Water Bear Limited is the new leader in international arm sales

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A greater mȯist accolade for the fine programmers working at Paypal can hardly be imagined:

Certain words can trigger our security system. Unfortunately, this cannot be overridden.

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And here I assumed the problem was people using “Tardigrade” as a nickname for Xi.

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That which we call a tardigrade
By any other name would be a Fancy Bear.

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Wow, so all foreign agents would have to do to (further) ruin the US Economy is name their arms trafficking organizations after Apple, Google and Amazon, then payment processing will grind to a halt nationwide… :thinking:

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I was thinking it would be because they include “tard” in their name, which is an offensive insult…

From personal experience, I can add that anything using the name “Havana” also gets dinged by Paypal, even if it has nothing directly to do with Cuba.

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Technically it wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m guessing they don’t want to pay another $7.7 million in OFAC sanctions.

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Reminds me of the time the US seized a Danish man’s payment for Cuban cigars, wired directly from Denmark to Cuba for an entirely legal purchase in his country. He never got the thousands of dollars back.

Edit: looking it up it’s even more fucked up than I remembered. He bought Cuban cigars from a GERMAN shop to sell on in Denmark and his money was seized because the transaction was in US dollars. c. $20,000

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I’ve heard tell that similar problems happen if a product name contains the letters I, R, A, and N in that order.

While a programmer by trade, I can’t comprehend the majesty of the SuperClever™ algorithm that PayPal is using to prevent undesirable transactions. Maybe the robots are coming for our jobs, but they’re still moronic.

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My guess as well. “-tard” is frequently used as an offensive suffix or modifier so someone probably just wrote an algorithm that blocks any word that contains the four-letter sequence whether it’s being used that way or not.

Case in point: my original draft of this post included a common example that starts with “lib-” but the BBS automatically flagged it for moderation.

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Well, there goes any chance of buying Flock of Seagulls music on PayPal.

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I would have renamed it the Tardy Grade ornament, but I’m just different that way.

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Better yet, let them name one “PayPal Arms Trading Co.”, then PayPal will be blocked everywhere

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Back in the early days of the internet I read about a researcher browsing pages on X-ray crystallography which triggered a filter looking for “X-rated” searches.

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and this is why we can’t have nice things

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The mystery remains open, officially, but Vice’s Samantha Cole identified what is surely the culprit: a foreign company named “Tardigrade Limited” is on a sanctions list over arms sales. The Office of Foreign Assets Control has a search engine that returns the word as an entry, and the company crops up in this U.S. Treasury Department shit list.

Jesus Christ. They seem to consistently implement those sanctions in the dumbest ways possible. Especially given that the list includes individual’s names, with aliases, that are quite common in some parts of the world and having any combination of first/last names from the list can get you blocked, it’s totally nuts.

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Tardigrades, Star Trek Discover - Fuck All You Guys

(To be clear: directed at PayPal, not you guys.)

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I gather the bigger concern was people looking for moss piglet merch would be less likely to find them when searching by their best know name of tardigrade.

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Well, there goes my idea for full page ads in the back of comic books selling the “Tardigrade circus” with pictures of cure little water bears doing circus tricks.

Only $19.95 for hours of fun…Near impossible to kill pets!

(I’d actually just send out little patches of moss from my yard, guaranteed to contain some tardigrades of course).

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