How to spot a trusted activist

So, you meet someone who has a Riseup email, and you immediately think – “what a fine and upstanding rebel, I’m sure I can trust them!”

Uh, no. No, no, no.

Our process for approving email accounts is that we read over what someone writes about themselves and we assume it’s true. There are certain red flags that we always reject, but let’s be clear: you don’t have to be a genius to fool us, and we’re big enough that we’re not all friends of friends. Even if we were, there’s no system in the world that reliably weeds out infiltrators, informants, and agent provocateurs. Which sucks. And is scary. But probably the place we all need to start with is being aware and keeping it in mind.

People associate a riseup address as a marker of an activist, conveying a certain legitimacy or stamp of approval. Please do not make this mistake!

Don’t lose the story of how you changed the world.

A former user from a long time ago wrote in to ask us to help them recover their email from their account from 2003. It contained important historical emails, documents, and manifestos related to social movements in their country. It made us very sad to have to tell this person that we don’t have that data any longer.

Why didn’t we have this data? If you don’t login to your account for a long time, we will eventually remove it and all its data. We go through a careful process when doing this which involves a lot of patience and waiting, notifying the account holder, and then closing the account if we don’t hear anything back. We don’t even delete things then, we put them in the freezer for a long time, just in case! But eventually we clean that up too, and when we do that, we no longer have it.

You should make sure you have a backup of your data somewhere other than on our servers. Besides legal and privacy concerns, we could have some catastrophic disk failure and lose everything. We work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen, but you should still have backups!

Ask yourself: where are the important emails, documents, and manifestos of your group stored? Do you have a good place for them for people to find when you are gone and people want to write the history about how you changed the world? If they are only stored in Riseup, that isn’t good. Download them and put them somewhere safer that you control.

Here are some directions for downloading your email:

Thanks for all the funds!

Hey folks, thanks for funding a good chunk of what we need to continue Riseup into 2013. Donations keep coming in from folks throwing fundraisers and individuals, and it’s all so, so, heartwarming.

We’re doing our best to write thank you letters to everyone, but we don’t have everyone’s contact info, so in case we missed you – thanks! And, as always, thanks for all your passion, activism, commitment, and work on all your various actions and projects.