It was established in 2003 in memory of Wau Holland, co-founder of the Chaos Computer Club. Loosely connected with the Chaos Computer Club, the foundation aims to preserve and further Holland's ideas in fields such as technology assessment, the history of technology and freedom of information. Specifically, it promotes the use of electronic media for educational purposes, as well as events on the social aspects of new technologies.
Foundation projects include the "Archive of Contemporary History of Technology (Hacker archive)", which documents the history of the hacker scene, and a campaign against voting machines (both in collaboration with the Chaos Computer Club). The foundation also processes donations in Europe to support the WikiLeaks organization.
As of December 2010, their endowment was about 62,000 EUR. It also owns land (valued at about 1500 EUR), currently leased to a public institution.
The foundation has collected over $1.2 million USD for WikiLeaks since it began accepting donations on the organization's behalf in October 2009. On 4 December 2010, PayPal turned off donations in response to the foundation's connection to WikiLeaks, alleging that the account was being used for "activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity." On 8 December 2010 the foundation released a press statement, saying it has filed legal action against PayPal for blocking its account and for libel due to PayPal's allegations of "illegal activity."
As a consequence of this activity of collecting donations for Wikileaks, its charitable status has been challenged and later revoked by the German authorities. Its charitable status has been reinstated on 12 December 2012, applied retroactively for 2011 and 2012.
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