Is PayPal blocking Isis addresses?

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Isis. The dog in Downton Abbey. An Oxford rowing team. The Thames upstream and an ancient Egyptian goddess. And now a tricky term to have in your address if you use PayPal, or so it seems. When it comes to geopolitics, ISIS means the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

According to a report on the BBC, people with the word Isis in their address are being flagged as dodgy because of a potential association with the terrorist group Isis. That includes perfectly normal folk living in Isis Close or the like.

Senior lecturer at the Open University Ray Corrigan says: “It’s very easy to get tagged with a toxic word on the internet and, if you have PayPal or other large organisations using words as a way of filtering people, you are going to run into ridiculous mistakes. You have got perfectly respectable people in suburbs in Oxford who are going to be tagged as persona non grata.”

Have you been affected?

Amended to add this statement from PayPal:

“Government regulations require that payments companies including PayPal scan all payments for terrorist and other references. We do everything we can to eliminate references that have nothing to do with terrorism, such as the common Oxford name Isis, without compromising our compliance obligations. We have no policy of banning PayPal payments to UK addresses containing the name Isis unless we have additional reasons to suspect that the payment may be related to terrorist funding.”

8 Responses

  1. I have a similar (if not vague) recollection of AOL, back in the day, blocking the entire town of Scunthorpe from access (or something) due to the rude word embedded in the town’s name, or was this just an urban legend?

  2. Even trying to follow Paypal’s facile logic is mind boggling.

    In their world, all burglars wear striped shirts and masks and jihadis put “terrorist” as their occupation on their passport applications.

    It’s like the BBC filtering out emails from Scunthorpe because it contains a certain four letter word (rhymes with Jeremy Hunt).

  3. Well if people in Scunthorpe are having problems, they’d be better moving to Penistone.


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