riseup design contest!

Soon we will turn 15 years old, and we want to celebrate with you, our dear users, by asking you to help us come up with graphics, phrases and ideas to put on shirts, stickers, buttons, and other fun agitprop. So we are announcing a contest and asking you to start up those creative brain cells and submit your creations! We’ll take the submissions and then pick some winners. Some ideas of things you could work into your work could be around the surveillance apocalypse, privacy, autonomy, birds (we love birds), and activism… but you don’t have to be limited by these!

Anything you submit should be freely licensed, so we and others can use it in different ways. Graphics should be in an open format (SVG, JPG, PNG, XCF, etc). Deadline is one month from now! Send your submissions to

We are really excited to see what creative ideas you come up with! Oh, and the huge prize should we pick your art and ideas? Well, um, we’ll send you whatever we make from your stuff, if you want it. Thanks!

Essential browser extensions

Your web browser is not your friend: it allows your behavior to be tracked as you browse the web, often leaks personal information, and is a festering sore of endless security problems.

This is not by accident, but by design. Despite their marketing, the browser companies care more about making advertisers happy than your privacy or security.

For example, there was a huge debate in the 1990s [1] about the privacy implications of third-party cookies, which is why the official cookie technical specification required [2] that these type of “surveillance” cookies be disabled by default. Guess what? Nearly all browsers ignored this requirement under pressure from ad companies [3]. Fast-forward to 2010: after a Mozilla engineer disabled third-party cookies by default, advertisers became rabid and “coincidentally” Mozilla executives ordered the change reversed immediately [4]. After that, the browser companies quietly issued a new cookie standard which allowed third-party cookies to be enabled by default.

The cookie debacle is just one example. If any of the browser companies gave two shits about your security or privacy, then they would kill off foreign http-referers, Flash, Java applets, and third-party cookies (among many other obvious changes). Google has a very good browser security team, but their hands are tied by policy decisions that keep advertisers happy.

So, basically, we are fucked. Despite that, you can make your web browser experience a little bit better and more secure by following Riseup’s handy guide to essential web browser extensions:

[1] Shah, R. C., & Kesan, J. P. (2009). Recipes for cookies: how institutions shape communication technologies.


[3] Bruner, R. E. (1997, May). Advertisers win one in debate over “cookies”: Netscape move may settle sites concern over controversial targeting tool

[4] Soghoian, C. (2010). Thoughts on Mozilla and Privacy.

Our machines don’t run on wishes

We have tried, but we can’t run on good sentiment alone. Instead, we turn money into servers and electricity and labor and bandwidth. Together, these things sustain our little magical corner of the internet, where the watchword is digital justice not big data.

If you think it is important for alternatives like Riseup to exist, put your money where your mouth is and contribute today:

In solidarity, The Riseup Birds