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The story of Riseup.net
Riseup has become a force to be reckoned with. We are the largest nonprofit email provider in the world, outside of a university system. We run one of the world's most used TOR nodes. We are frequently cited and sourced as one of the few ethical, autonomous, and secure internet providers.
Dear Riseup Users:
Here's the story of how we got to be the Riseup that we are. Please donate if you can! https://riseup.net/donate
Once upon a time, way back at the end of 1999 when the internet was still young and the millennium loomed, a couple of geeks got fired up at the WTO protests in Seattle. After a week of teargas, jail, cardboard butterfly wings, and way too much chanting, they sat in their living room and talked about what the movement needed for the next decade. They came up with Riseup.net as an independent provider of lists and email. They created Riseup on a couple of servers in their house, and soon attracted a couple more geeks to the cause.
Every year Riseup grew and grew, and it became more of a headache in that way where it was more work and had more people relying upon it. Some people came and went from the collective, and there were some hard, lean years where it was unclear if this was the right thing to pour time and money into, but stubbornly, Riseup kept going.
People's skills increased around providing stable and secure services. More people joined the collective, and they were activist gold: the kind of people who worked hard on all the irritating day-to-day minutiae, the kind who showed up for meetings and cared deeply about this quixotic project, and the kind of people who stay up all night at crisis moments to wield their mighty hacker skills that looked like magic to those of us in the collective (like me) who are writers not geeks.
So somewhere around 2007, the collective became stable member-wise, and we became a group of about ten people who are mostly the same people we have today. Over the last eight years we have become a true collective in a rare way. We've worked together on Riseup for a long time, and slowly, that has become a big deal in most of our lives. We celebrate -- those of us who live near each other -- our celebrations together and care about each other in a true and real way. One of the greatest secret successes of Riseup was when Gadfly and Arara met at one of our retreats and fell in love. We have at times been annoyed, in conflict, and angry with each other (since we are humans not robots), and this has even led to some people leaving the collective, but overall we've been surprisingly stable as all but one of us has transitioned from being fiery, dreamy, young radicals into cranky, dreamy middle-aged radicals.
And also, sometime during the last eight years, Riseup has become a force to be reckoned with. We are the largest nonprofit email provider in the world, outside of a university system. We run one of the world's most used TOR nodes. We are frequently cited and sourced as one of the few ethical, autonomous, and secure internet providers. We legally duked it out with the far right over not turning over our user's information and won. We use and develop cool-ass secure software. We scheme with other tech collectives across the globe on what we are going to do about all this spying and how we can carry this work on into the next decade. We have big hearts and minds, and we plan to win.
So, that's us. Or one of the stories about us. Support us if you can! https://riseup.net/donate
The Riseup Birds
Hello Beautiful Riseup Users:
Are we still needing funding for the coming year? Yes! We have gotten $55,000 in donations, which is amazing. Thanks all, and please donate to Riseup today, if you can (https://riseup.net/donate).
Since Riseup works to make secure and private communications, let's talk about one of the organizations we are fighting: the extremely well-funded National Security Agency (NSA), aka the shady, secretive United States spying program that Edward Snowden so excellently blew the whistle on.
Did you know the NSA has built a map of the entire world via the communication links of all email, chat, and financial transactions? This map tells a story to them about all of us. It knows who we know. It knows who our activist allies and relationships are.
And, as if that wasn't crappy enough, the NSA is trying to undermine the security of the internet as a whole by putting in back-doors and weakening encryption standards so that they can spy better. They spend $250,000,000 USD per year on this. This makes the entire internet less secure, and makes it easier for people, governments, and corporations to exploit, scam, and spy on each other.
While the NSA claims they are targeting terrorism, they have been targeting foreign politicians and companies, with evidence that this is happening particularly in Brazil and Mexico. This is plain old espionage and corporate spying. Terrorism is merely the justification for astounding encroachments on our civil liberties.
Last, we have to assume this is all the tip of an iceberg. We have to assume there are other spy agencies across the globe doing similar spy work that we don't know about (yet.)
What can we do about this? We can fight it legally, we can provide support for leakers and journalists, and we can invest in infrastructure (like Riseup) that is building alternative tools to fight the spooks.
Thanks, Love, and Rage,
The Riseup Birds
Dear Riseup Users
We are at the end of our fundraising drive, and we want to thank everyone who opened up your hearts and pocket books to us. We feel really supported by all of you and will return the favor by being there for you over the coming year. We had 1,300 people donate over $63,000.
Wow! We didn't know, when we asked, whether there was any way we could raise this much money, but you pitched in and that's truly huge for us and the work we do. And, as is always the case with projects like us, we are still open for donations.
Okay, we are headed back to our servers, help tickets, and code. Hoping you all are having great success on this long walk toward freedom, peace, justice, and sustainability.
The Riseup Birds