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PurposeA not-for-profit collective established 1985, providing internet services, web design and hosting to supporters of peace, the environment and human rights

GreenNet is a not-for-profit Internet service provider based in London, England. It was established in 1985 "as an effective and cheap way for environmental activists to communicate".[1] In 1987 the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust gave GreenNet a grant to enable it to bring a large number of peace groups online, and "After a few years they became one of the first internet service providers in Britain".[2] GreenNet formed an international link with IGC and was a founder member of the Association for Progressive Communications, established in 1990.[3] The registered charity GreenNet Charitable Trust was established in 1994 and owns GreenNet.[1]


GreenNet developed a Fido gateway, GnFido, which allowed access to basic internet facilities such as email using a store and forward system.[4] It provided the only available cheap and accessible internet access for thousands of individuals and organisations in Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe.[5]

2013 DDoS Attack[edit]

Beginning at 10.15 BST on Thursday 1 August 2013 GreenNet and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) suffered an extensive DDoS attack. The attack was later described as a "DNS reflection attack" also known as a spoofed attack[6] Several sources initially suspected the attack was linked to the Zimbabwean Elections, held a day earlier.[7][8][9] GreenNet's services were not fully operational again until 10.30 BST on Thursday 7 August.[10] On 9 August there was a second attack, which, while affecting some systems, allowed GreenNet to discover the site which was being targeted.[11] In October 2013, the target was revealed to be the site of investigative reporter Andrew Jennings.[12]

2014 Legal Action on Hacking[edit]

In July 2014 Privacy International, GreenNet and five other Internet Service Providers took GCHQ, the UK security service to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal alleging breach of privacy and breaking into their networks[13]. The case ultimately failed, but GCHQ were forced to admit clandestine hacking activities[14]. GreenNet were shortlisted for ISPA's Internet Hero of the year 2015.[15]


  1. ^ a b "About GreenNet: What is GreenNet". GreenNet. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  2. ^ Willetts, Peter (2010). "NGOs, networking and the creation of the internet". Non-Governmental Organizations in World Politics: The Construction of Global Governance. Routledge. p. 96. ISBN 9781136848537.
  3. ^ "An Obscure Peter Gabriel Benefit Concert Helped Bring the Internet to the World". Vice Magazine. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  4. ^ Allen, Chris (1997). "Introduction: Main communication networks in Africa 2.1 GreenNet". Africa Bibliography 1995. Edinburgh University Press. p. ix. ISBN 9780748608782.
  5. ^ "Karen Banks: Internet Hall of Fame Global Connector". Inductees 2013. Internet Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Zimbabweans Hit By Cyber Attacks During Election - Slashdot".
  7. ^ "Zimbabwe election hit by hacking and DDoS attacks".
  8. ^ Eduard Kovacs (7 August 2013). "Zimbabwe's Presidential Election Accompanied by Cyberattacks". softpedia.
  9. ^ "Cyber Attacks Strike Zimbabweans Around Controversial Election". TechWeekEurope UK.
  10. ^ "[Greennet-l] GreenNet service update 7 August 2013".
  11. ^ "[Greennet-l] GreenNet service update 9 August 2013".
  12. ^ Dawson, Tim (October–November 2013). "Brand new gag: the hidden war on press freedom". The Journalist. London: National Union of Journalists: 14–16. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  13. ^ "ISPs take GCHQ to court in UK over mass surveillance". Guardian. 2 July 2014.
  14. ^ "Privacy International and Greennet & Others v The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and The Government Communications Headquarters ("GCHQ") [2016] UKIP Trib 14_85-CH". Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  15. ^ "ISPA Reveals UK Internet Hero and Villain Shortlist for 2015 Awards". 18 July 2015.

External links[edit]