Board of Directors
|Nicholas Merrill, Executive Director and Founder||
Nicholas Merrill founded Calyx Internet Access Corporation in 1995. Calyx Internet Access was one of the first commercial Internet service providers operating in New York City. Within a few years, Calyx opened a sister company in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Calyx pursued relationships with and worked with many non-profit organizations on a pro bono basis and also had a number of blue chip for-profit businesses in its client roster including Mitsubishi Motors of America, Snapple, Ikea and Tanqueray.
In 2004, after receiving a demand for information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Nick became the first party to ever challenge the constitutionality of the National Security Letters provision of the USA PATRIOT Act. The litigation resulted in the judicial invalidation or narrowing of several controversial surveillance provisions, and it led to significant legislative changes as well. It also led to a Department of Justice internal investigation that uncovered thousands of instances of abuse.
In 2010, after winning a partial release from the gag order, Nick founded The Calyx Institute – a non-profit organization whose goal is to reform the Telecommunications industry with regard to privacy and freedom of expression.
Nick has spoken in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC before the 2010 Congressional class, at the Personal Democracy Forum, at the CCC Congress in Berlin, at the Turing Festival in Edinburgh Scotland, at the HOPE conference in NYC, and at the PopTech conference in Camden Maine. He has written two op-eds in the Washington Post, and has been profiled in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired magazine, and in the journal of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
He is a recipient of the ACLU’s Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee’s Patriot Award.
|Kobi Snitz, Director||
Kobi Snitz has a Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science, Physics and Math from the University of Toronto. He also holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Maryland.
Early in his undergraduate studies in the early 1990's, Kobi has been introduced to the fundamental questions of computer science. These range from questions of computability and the future of computing to questions about computers and society.
These interests have led him to volunteer as an administrator and editor at The Independent Media Center and also motivate his current work in a Neurobiology lab.
|Micah Anderson, Director||
Micah Anderson is the co-founder of RiseUp Networks and has been a Unix system administrator for more than a decade.
Micah is also a tech activist working on free software, media activism and corralling servers to create grassroots democratic technology alternatives. For the non-profit Riseup Networks he has architected extensive technical infrastructure providing colocation, secure email, websites and mailing lists to over half a million activists world-wide.
Additionally, he has worked to build popular communications capacity in media centers and social movements in South America, shared free software skills and strategies with civil society tech workers in Africa and Central/Eastern Europe, and is a Debian Developer working on customized Debian distributions geared towards non-profits.
|Steven Gelmis, Director||
Steven Gelmis is the founder and, through 2005, was CEO of Public Interest Network Services (PINS), a New York City based ISP and CLEC and Public Interest Telecommunications Inc. (PITI) an interconnect with a focus of service to NGOs in the environmental, housing, social services and civil rights advocacy communities. From 2006 until the companies were sold in 2011 he served as Chairman.
Steve's 1972 foray into telecom was as a teenage hacker (Phone Phreak, in the lexicon of the day), which during and after attending Hampshire College led to telecom-related projects in support of political activism on behalf of Pacifica Foundation (WBAI), NYPIRG, NRDC, EDF, The Nation, National Lawyers Guild and eventually, as a formally constituted business, a total of more than 500 public service oriented organizations nation-wide and more than double that number of commercial clients over the course of three decades.
During the span of his time at PINS, he led the company and its clients through the adoption and deployment of many waves of deregulation-driven technologies, from private key and PBX systems (first analog, and later digital), to fax machines, voicemail, international callback, T-1 lines for voice and later inter and intra-nets, to DSL, DS3, Metro Ethernet, VoIP and virtual PBX. Applying hacker-level technical expertise and entrepreneur-level economics to each use-case was the key engineering focus of the organization, which operated successfully without a sales force, purely on referrals and long term client retention.
Steve is currently raising his three young children in Sweden.