February 16, 2017
After exhausting our legal options, Riseup recently chose to comply with two sealed warrants from the FBI, rather than facing contempt of court (which would have resulted in jail time for Riseup birds and/or termination of the Riseup organization). The first concerned the public contact address for an international DDoS extortion ring. The second concerned an account using ransomware to extort money from people.
Extortion activities clearly violate both the letter and the spirit of the social contract 1 we have with our users: We have your back so long as you are not pursuing exploitative, misogynist, racist, or bigoted agendas.
There was a “gag order” that prevented us from disclosing even the existence of these warrants until now. This was also the reason why we could not update our “Canary” 2.
We have taken action to ensure that Riseup never again has access to a user’s stored email in plaintext. Starting today, all new Riseup email accounts will feature personally encrypted storage on our servers, only accessible by you. In the near future, we will begin to migrate all existing accounts to use this new system (for technical details, see 3).
To be absolutely clear, this type of encryption is not end-to-end message encryption. With Riseup’s new system, you still put faith in the server while you are logged in. For full end-to-end email encryption, as before, you must use a client that supports OpenPGP (and is not web-based).
We are working to roll out a more comprehensive end-to-end system in the coming year, but until that is ready, we are deploying personally encrypted storage in the mean time.
The Riseup Birds