Riseup was the obvious choice, with their commitment to privacy, supporting activists, and fighting surveillance.

The community felt much more secure not having it in the hands of a big tech company that would be more vulnerable to surveillance, but we were having some issues with the lists.

"The knowledge of always being watched changes our behavior and stifles dissent.

Hence the idea to launch a campaign in support of them.

Elizabeth Stark: We really wanted to go with an email provider that was independent and not part of one of the major centralized tech companies.

(As of today, the crowdfunding campaign reached it's $10,000 goal, but the organizers are hoping to exceed that total by a good margin.) Tell me a bit about your respective work with and use of as Stop Watching. As we put together our plans and our communications infrastructure, we agreed that we didn't want to rely on services like Google Groups—which apparently had been compromised—to host our sensitive communications.

We naturally turned to Riseup, which has been providing services to activists for more than a decade and is run by dedicated volunteers, many of whom are friends.

Now, the collective is hoping to expand, given the gross privacy transgressions of the NSA and US government as a whole.

"What surveillance really is, at its root, is a highly effective form of social control," reads an August Riseup newsletter.

Back in 1999, Seattle-based activists formed the communication collective

The site's email and chat services, among other tools, soon offered dissidents a means of encrypted communication essential to their work.

Josh and I rallied several friends within the Stop Watching.