On Wednesday April 18th, a server hosted in Riseup’s NYC facility was seized without warning by the US Federal authorities. Be assured, the machine does not have any Riseup data on it. The machine that was seized was operated by the European Counter Network (“ECN”), an Italian technology collective with a deep history providing email, lists and web hosting services to colleagues around the world supporting social change movements.
To repeat: no Riseup service or user data is on this machine. No Riseup keys or certificates are on the machine. Furthermore, the root filesystem of this machine is encrypted.
The server was seized because it hosted an email anonymizer called Mixmaster. By design, Mixmaster stores zero data, which the FBI is wellaware of. In a display of gross overreach, they decided to seize the machine anyway.
For more information, please read the full press release: riseup.net/seizure-2012-april
On March 22, the “Search and Surveillance” law passed in New Zealand, granting sweeping new powers to the police and radically expanding which government agencies have police-like powers. Most troubling, the police now have the ability to perform warrantless searches of the home, workplace, or devices of anyone arrested or even just detained if the police “suspect” that a search will turn up evidence related to the offense. The new law also removes any distinction between a one time search warrant and ongoing surveillance.
For more information, see www.stopthebillnow.blogspot.com [english]
The current UK government, despite campaign pledges to roll back the creep of state surveillance, is working on a new plan to build a database of the social graph of the entire populous. This database would come from forcing ISPs to allow the government to monitor all data traffic in the country to determine who is talking to whom. While this proposal has sparked a furor in the UK, it mirrors what has already been going on for years in the United States. Prime Minister Cameron has “vowed to press forward with the legislation”.
For more information, see:
- www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/01/government-email-social-network-surveillance [english]
- articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/05/world/la-fg-britain-security-laws-20120406 [english]
For information on the similar NSA program in the US:
In the year 2011, Polish police accessed user data retained by phone companies and ISPs over 1.85 million times. Polish law allows police access to retained data in almost any circumstance, at no cost, and with no independent or judicial oversight.
For more information, see:
- panoptykon.org [polish]
- www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/04/european-data-retention-directive-work-polish-authorities-abuse-access-data [english]
Iran continues its ongoing censorship work. It was reported in 2011 that Iran was planning its own “clean” inter/intra-net and it is reported to still be in the works. Meanwhile, it still is using a number of other techniques to attempt to limit net access, and is getting some of its equipment from China.
For recent reports, see:
Riseup has a lot of users and groups who give us monthly donations. Yay! This is huge for us because we’re able to plan for our future collective work with a firmer idea of what we’ll be able to fund.
What are those plans? They’re evolving, and always involve implementing more secure protocols, expanding our services worldwide, and offering a growing number of secure and surveillance-free internet communication tools.
If you can, if you’re able, we’d love for you to sign up for monthly donations at whatever level you can ($5 = so awesome. $10 = so awesome. More money = so awesome.)