Its mission is to support liberatory social change via fighting social control and mass surveillance through distribution of secure tools. It lists its purpose as "... aid[ing] in the creation of a free society, a world with freedom from want and freedom of expression, a world without oppression or hierarchy, where power is shared equally." Most e-mail service providers worldwide are provided by corporations. It has been established that these large entities scan or record content of or data pertaining to e-mails and store the information. Not only do they typically scan and record the content of your messages for a wide variety of purposes, they also concede to the demands of governments that restrict digital freedom and fail to have strict policies regarding their user’s privacy. Riseup believes it is vital that essential communication infrastructure be controlled by movement organizations and not corporations or the government.
As of 2013, Riseup features 6 million subscribers spread across 14,000 lists. Their projects have included the StopWatching.Us petition against global surveillance disclosures revealed by Edward Snowden.
In January 2015 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) criticized the arrests of anarchists in Spain which were reported to have been partially attributed to the 'extreme security measures' of using Riseup.
Riseup provides products to facilitate secure communications, including use of strong encryption, anonymizing services, and minimal data retention, aimed at individuals and non-profit and activist groups. Riseup's two most popular features are secure email and mailing list management services.
7.2 million users are subscribed to lists hosted on Riseup's network, as of November 2015.
Mid November 2016 an unexplained stealth error appeared in their warrant canary page, and they failed to respond to requests to update the canary, leading some to believe the collective has become the target of a gag order denying them their right to comment publicly. On February 16, 2017, theRiseup collective revealed that their failure to update their canary was due to two sealed warrants from the FBI, which perforce made it impossible for them 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. Their canary has since been updated.
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