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Riseup Networks
Seattle, Washington
Area served
ProductsRiseupVPN, Riseup Red

Riseup is a volunteer-run collective providing secure email, email lists, a VPN service, online chat, and other online services. This organization was launched by activists in Seattle with borrowed equipment and a few users in 1999 or 2000, and quickly grew to millions of accounts.[1][2]

As of 2013, Riseup features 6 million subscribers spread across 14,000 lists.[1] Their projects have included the Stop Watching Us campaign against global surveillance disclosures revealed by Edward Snowden.[1]


Riseup provides products to facilitate secure communications, including use of strong encryption, anonymizing services, and minimal data retention, which aimed at individuals and non-profit and activist groups.[3] Riseup's two most popular features are secure, privacy-focused email[4][5][6][7] and mailing list management services.[8][9][10]

The email service is available through IMAP, POP3, and a web interface.[11] The web interface is a variant of Roundcube or SquirrelMail.[12]

According to Kate Krauss at Technical.ly in April 2017, "riseup is a famously ethical nonprofit organization", and "the riseup VPN does not log your IP address, unlike most other VPNs."[13] In 2012, discussing an attack against a Microsoft-developed authentication scheme that makes it trivial to break the encryption used by hundreds of anonymity and security services, Moxie Marlinspike, who unveiled the attack, said VPN services offered by riseup.net, for example, selected a 21-character password on behalf of the user that used a combination of 96 different numbers, symbols, and upper- and lower-case letters to withstand such attacks.[14]


In 2011 Riseup was said to be the only one of several subpoenaed groups to resist subpoenas related to 2008 Bash Back protests.[15]

In 2014, Riseup Network was one of several claimants against GCHQ in international court. Devin Theriot-Orr of Riseup.net said, "People have a fundamental right to communicate with each other free from pervasive government surveillance. The right to communicate, and the ability to choose to do so secretly, is essential to the open exchange of ideas which is a cornerstone of a free society."[16]

In December 2014, a judge in Spain partially justified prolonging the detention of seven alleged anarchist activists by citing their use of "extreme security measures" such as Riseup email, the judge's act has been criticized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).[17][18]

In 2014 the Google I/O conference was disrupted by protests. The protest outside was led by Fletes and Erin McElroy from Riseup.net and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project.[19]

Warrant canary[edit]

In mid-November 2016, an unexplained stealth error appeared in Riseup's warrant canary page, and they did not respond to requests to update the canary, leading some to believe the collective was the target of a gag order.[20] On February 16, 2017, the Riseup collective revealed their failure to update the canary was due to two sealed warrants from the FBI, which made it impossible to legally update their canary. The two sealed warrants concerned a public contact of an international distributed denial-of-service attack extortion ring and an account using ransomware to extort people financially. The decision to release user information has been criticized in the hacker community.[21] The canary has since been updated, but no longer states the absence of gag orders.[22]


  1. ^ a b c Pangburn, DJ (11 September 2013). "Inside the Effort to Crowdfund NSA-Proof Email and Chat Services". Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  2. ^ Cohen, Noam (2010-08-15). "In Google-Verizon Deal, Fears for Privacy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  3. ^ "Cheap hosting and free speech". CNET. July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  4. ^ Greenberg, Andy (2014-06-17). "How to Anonymize Everything You Do Online". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  5. ^ "Encrypt your emails, evade the NSA". Salon. 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  6. ^ Norton, Quinn (2013-06-11). "Worried about the Mass Surveillance? How to Practice Safer Communication". ProPublica. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  7. ^ Adee, Sally (17 January 2017). "How to protest against Trump in his expanded surveillance state". NewScientist. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  8. ^ Wendorf, Daniel; Plass-Fleßenkämper, Benedikt (August 2018). "Redeeming the darknet in five examples". Goethe-Institut. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  9. ^ Willis, Nathan (June 24, 2015). "The security benefits of using Gmail [LWN.net]". lwn.net. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  10. ^ COHEN, NOAM (August 15, 2010). "Internet Proposal From Google and Verizon Raises Fears for Privacy". Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  11. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (2013-10-13). "Europe won't save you: Why e-mail is probably safer in the US". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  12. ^ "Webmail - riseup.net". riseup.net. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  13. ^ Krauss, Kate (2017-04-04). "Trump just signed a bill that lets ISPs sell your browsing data. Here's what to do now". Technical.ly Philly. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  14. ^ Goodin, Dan (2012-07-31). "Attack against Microsoft scheme puts hundreds of crypto apps at risk". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  15. ^ Mirk, Sarah (March 22, 2011). "Hack Back: Right-Wing Group Subpoenas Queer Activists' Info from Google". Portland Mercury. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  16. ^ Bowcott, Owen (2014-07-02). "ISPs take GCHQ to court in UK over mass surveillance". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  17. ^ Kayyali, Nadia (16 January 2015). "Security is Not a Crime—Unless You're an Anarchist". Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  18. ^ Baker, Jennifer (14 Jan 2015). "Warning: Using encrypted email in Spain? Do not pass go, go directly to jail". Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  19. ^ Buhr, Sarah. "Google I/O Protester Stopped The Conference Claiming To Be Jack Halprin Eviction Victim". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2019-11-10. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  20. ^ "Disparity in the RiseUp Canary - GPG RSA Key Was Changed By ONE Character At The Last Update". Reddit. 2016-11-18.
  21. ^ "Episode 1: Riseup, Technological Centralization & Snitching". Archived from the original on 2017-12-21. Retrieved 2017-12-21.
  22. ^ Whittaker, Zack. "Encrypted email service Riseup sparks worry after warrant canary appears to expire". ZDNet. Retrieved 2019-11-10.

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