The X-Lab Team

X-Lab is directed by Sascha Meinrath, the Palmer Chair in Telecommunications at Penn State University. Sascha is a renowned technology policy expert and is internationally recognized for his work over the past two decades as a community internet pioneer, social entrepreneur, and angel investor. He was elected as an Ashoka Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship in 2012, and has been named to the “TIME Tech 40” as one of the most influential figures in technology, to the “Top 100” in Newsweek's Digital Power Index, and is a recipient of the Public Knowledge IP3 Award for excellence in public interest advocacy.  Sascha is a regular columnist for the Christian Science Monitor and is widely published in both academic and media outlets, including Critical Studies in Media Communications, International Journal of Communications, Journal of Communications Law and Policy, Journal of Internet Law, Journal for Community Informatics, IEEE Internet Computing Magazine, IEEE Spectrum, Foreign Policy, The Hill, Time Magazine, Politico, Slate, The Guardian, and many others.

Prior to founding X-Lab, Sascha was Vice-President of the New America Foundation, where he founded the Open Technology Institute in 2008 and built it into one of the largest public interest tech policy organizations in Washington, DC. He also founded the Commotion Wireless Project, which works around the globe to strengthen communities by providing tools to build their own local communications infrastructures, and co-founded Measurement Lab (M-Lab), a global online platform for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools that empower the public and key decision-makers with useful information about broadband connectivity. Since 2004, he has also hosted the biannual International Summit for Community Wireless Networks (IS4CWN).

Sascha has been a vocal public intellectual and a leading voice calling for accountability over the governmental spying programs, and is at the forefront of DC policy debates over how Congress and the White House should rein in the cybersecurity-industrial complex. He serves as a board member for the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition; Brave New Software Foundation; Bill of Rights Defense Committee; Acorn Active Media Foundation; and Freedom to Connect Foundation. He is also a member of the advisory councils for the Alliance for Affordable Internet, the Calyx Institute, FreedomBox Foundation, Loomio, and the Open Internet Tools Project.  Sascha’s research focuses on distributed communications, Digital Feudalism, Digital Craftsmanship, telecommunications and spectrum policy, cybersecurity and privacy, and disruptive technology, and is a testament to his lifelong commitment to promoting social and economic justice -- values he embraced while attending a rough inner-city school in New Haven, Connecticut.

The son of an immigrant from Brazil, Sascha has a five year-old daughter who is both a vivacious kindergartener and budding Internet Freedom fighter.


 

Staff, Fellows & Advisors


Benjamin Knight works with X-Lab and co-fellow Pia Mancini on creating a scalable collective deliberation and decision making platform for all levels of participatory democracy. Benjamin is a co-founder of Loomio, an online tool for collaborative decision-making built by a team of open-source developers, facilitators and activists in New Zealand. He has an academic background in the evolution of collective intelligence, a practical background in grassroots community organising, and a passion for the potential of technology to spur positive social change.

Carolina Rossini works with X-Lab on understanding the policy environments impacting the implementation of the Commotion Project, as well as Internet Governance issues. Carolina is the Vice President for International Rights and Strategy at Public Knowledge. Carolina has more than 13 years of experience in international law, negotiations of transactions, and policy, with a specific focus on internet, telecom, intellectual property, and human rights. Alongside her work at Public Knowledge, she is a Global Partners Digital International Associate and an advisory board member to various organizations with focus on free culture and digital rights.

Deepak Puri is Director of Business Development for VMware's mobile cloud solutions. As a business development expert Deepak believes that effective partnering delivers benefits to all parties involved. He has spent over 20 years honing his expertise in structuring deals involving technology, sales distribution, business models and people. Deepak advises startups and volunteers with various nonprofits including Ashoka, TechSoup and the Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation.


Derek Khanna works with X-Lab on copyright reform. Derek, one of Forbes 30 under 30" for law and policy, has worked on congressional and presidential campaigns, and is the author of a widely praised Republican National Committee report on reforming copyright policy. A thought leader on intellectual property rights and copyright, he ran an ultimately successful campaign to legalize phone unlocking in 2013 and 2014.

Georgeta Dragoiu works with X-Lab as a Strategic Advisor. A communications and political strategist, Georgeta is Managing Director of MDC Strategies where she advises private, non-profit and government leaders. In 2012, she worked with the Obama Campaign to create and execute a metrics-driven GOTV and digital media strategy to increase Cuban-American voter turnout in Miami, helping the President win a historic level of support from that community in his reelection. A graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard Kennedy School, she has also provided analysis for the State Department on updating export controls for the Internet age.


Griffin Boyce works with X-Lab on Satori and Batou to create secure distribution of circumvention technologies and to increase internet usability for those using accessibility devices. Previously, Griffin worked on the Commotion Wireless Project at the Open Technology Institute, and is currently an independent contractor with Tor.


Gunnar Hellekson is the Chief Strategist for Red Hat’s US Public Sector group, where he works with systems integrators and government agencies to encourage the use of open source software in government.  He is a founder of Open Source for America, one of Federal Computer Week’s Fed 100 for 2010, and was voted one of the FedScoop 50 for industry leadership. He is an active member of the Military Open Source working group, the SIIA Software Division Board, the Board of Directors for the Public Sector Innovation Group, the Open Technology Fund Advisory Council, New America’s California Civic Innovation Project Advisory Council, and the CivicCommons Board of Advisors.


James Losey works with X-Lab on researching issues related to the control of communications, digital craftsmanship, and internet freedom. James is a doctoral candidate with the School of International Studies and the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. He has worked with New America’s Open Technology Institute since 2009 on a variety of information policies, and was Google Policy Fellow with the Global Network Initiative as well as a Consortium on Media Policy Studies fellow. In addition to his doctoral research at Stockholm University he is a 2014-2015 affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Jeff Landale is X-Lab's Executive Assistant. Before joining X-Lab, Jeff researched telecommunications companies' human rights policies, worked on social media campaigns for digital rights issues, and was the Assistant Project Manager on the RightsCon Silicon Valley 2014 with Access. He has also written on alternative education movements in the United States and elsewhere.


Josh King works with X-Lab on the global implementation of the Commotion Wireless project. He is the Lead Technologist at the Open Technology Institute, where he develops and implements free and open source software and hardware, evaluates and interprets a wide range of published information on future trends for telecommunications and media, and supports the research infrastructure of an open Internet.

Karl Grindal Karl Grindal is a policy analyst and information security researcher who works with X-Lab on cybersecurity policy. Karl is the Executive Director of the Cyber Conflict Studies Association, a nonprofit research institution. He also serves as the Director of Research at Intelligent Cyber Research, a start-up policy and global intelligence company. He previously worked as a Senior Analyst at Delta Risk LLC, a cybersecurity consulting firm, where he consulted on strategy, education, and innovation policies for the DoD and DHS..

Lorelei Kelly is the founder or director of five projects in Washington, D.C. with the purpose of systemlevel change in the information architecture between Congress and American citizens. She is piloting * Smart Congress **, to discover how open data, disruptive technology and transparency changes benefit evidence based decision making in legislatures. Lorelei is a civilmilitary expert and a guiding principle of her work is how we build shared, resilient governance in an era of digital communications and distributed power. She taught at Stanford University's Center on Conflict and Negotiation, then built "Security for a New Century" a study group for the House and Senate. Lorelei attended the Air Command and Staff College of the US Air Force. She is the coauthor of 2 books, and many articles, all free and available online.


Luis Miranda works with X-Lab as a Strategic Advisor. A former communications advisor to President Barack Obama, Luis is Managing Director of MDC Strategies where he advises corporate and non-profit clients on how to better frame and advance their public policy priorities. As Former Director of Hispanic Media, Luis Miranda led the White House’s unprecedented efforts to reach out to Hispanic media nationally, coordinating with all federal agencies on promoting the President’s agenda with the Hispanic community. Miranda served as a spokesperson and also developed strategic messaging on immigration and border security issues, integrating Hispanic media outreach into crisis communications efforts. As part of his duties, Miranda also worked with the President's National Security Staff on media outreach relevant to America's relationships with Latin America.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television an d radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and live - blogged the Scooter Libby trial. She is best known for weedy analysis of legal documents on counterterrorism programs. She won the 2009 Hillman Award for blog journalism.


Pascal Vinarnic started Demeter Foundation in 1994 to support incipient and innovative non-profits develop alternative business models helping them in reaching financial self-sufficiency. For about 10 years Demeter focused upon Microfinance in India, Africa and Latin America. Demeter is now focused upon economic tools for the reinsertion of At-Risk Youth (ranging for handicapped to ex-convicts). As an illustration, we are involved with a social incubator developing programs related to the economic integration of handicapped in Latin America; or with the first dedicated investment fund in NY targeting ex-convicts to help them start their business when they are released from jail. In parallel Demeter was one of the earliest members of the European Venture Philanthropy Association to promote alternative business models in the social sector.

Pia Mancini works with X-Lab and co-Fellow Benjamin Knight on creating a scalable collective deliberation and decision making platform for all levels of participatory democracy. Pia is the Co-Founder of Democracy OS. A political scientist by training, Pia is co-founder and director of Net Democracy. She is also a peer and co-founder of The Net Party, President of arteBA's Young Committee.


Saša Vučinić is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of North Base Media, a boutique investment firm specializing in journalism-related media and technology companies serving growth markets, especially in the developing world. He is also the Founder of Indie Voice, a crowdfunding portal specializing in helping independent media, primarily in the emerging parts of the world, raise the funds they need. His work focuses on creating a new class of media entrepreneurs by providing affordable and targeted capital coupled with management and technological know-how. The capital and know-how, taken together, strengthen independent media, particularly in places where it is most challenged and under threat.

Sean Vitka works with X-Lab on surveillance reform. Sean is also a Senior Fellow with Demand Progress. Prior to this, he was the legislative counsel for Credo Action and the federal policy manager at the Sunlight Foundation, where he successfully pushed for open, transparent government. Sean is a co-founder of the Civil Liberties Coalition, one of the largest coalitions in the United States calling for an end to mass government surveillance.


Steven Mansour provides training and support to scientists, non-profits and community groups throughout Latin America since 2004. He has given Linux & Open Source Software workshops in Cuba, and works closely with the Fundación Canguro in Colombia, developing knowledge transfer strategies for doctors and researchers working with premature & low birth weight (LBW) infants. He was Director of Technology & Partnerships at the World Association of Young Scientists, a  UNESCO project to support young scientists and early-career researchers. Steven worked closely with the McGill University Health Center, the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine and the Alberta Children's Hospital to develop social research and e-learning tools for professors and students in Mother-Child research. His work on Internet privacy and security has been featured in international media.


Dr. Traci Morris is the Director of Arizona State University's American Indian Policy Institute and a member of the Chickasaw nation of Oklahoma. Her work and research focuses on the digital divide (or divides), digital inclusion, internet use, and development of broadband in Indian Country and she has advocated for digital inclusion at the Federal Communications Commission and on Capitol Hill. Morris has worked with Native American Tribes, tribal businesses, native American non profits, native media makers, and artists and galleries.

Victor Pickard is an assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously he taught media studies at NYU and the University of Virginia, and he worked on media policy in Washington, D.C. as a Senior Research Fellow at the media reform organization Free Press, and at the public policy think tank the New America Foundation, and as a Policy Fellow for Congresswoman Diane Watson. He has published over 50 scholarly articles and book chapters on the history and political economy of media institutions and media reform activism. He frequently speaks to the press about current policy debates and his op-eds have appeared in news outlets like The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and The Atlantic. He is the editor (with Robert McChesney) of Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights, and the author of America’s Battle for Media Democracy.


Vincent Ferraiuolo is X-Lab's Social Media and PR intern, focusing on expanding X-Lab's public reach and impact. Vincent is a Senior at Penn State University studying Telecommunications and Information Science and Technology. Previously, Vincent worked for State Television at the Pennsylvania Cable Network, and the Public Relations' Committee of Empower Orphans. Vincent is very passionate for people, newly emerging technology, and all aspects of modern day communications.
 

Organizational Partners

Allied Media Projects cultivates media strategies for a more just, creative, and collaborative world.

Amnesty International’s Sensor Program leverages technological and scientific progress for human rights advocacy and campaigning.

Ben-Gurion University ComLinks Lab is developing a regulatory framework that will allow the transition of the existing broadcasting market into the new era as well as the introduction of new service providers.

Calyx Institute educates the public about privacy in digital communications and develops and tests building blocks that service providers can use to build "privacy by design" into their service offerings.

Center for Media Justice strengthens the communications effectiveness of grassroots racial justice sectors, and sustains a powerful local-to-local movement for media rights and access.

CommunityRED works to improve the security of journalists, activists and citizen reporters in conflict zones, and promotes information sharing where it’s needed most, without endangering lives or livelihoods.

Development Seed empowers citizens and organizations with tools and data to solve complex issues and make better decisions.

Institute for Information Policy conducts sponsored research & self-funded programs on the social implications of information technology, with emphasis on its potential to improve democratic discourse, social responsibility & quality of life.

LEAP Encryption Access Project is dedicated to giving all internet users access to secure communication and adapting encryption technology to make it easy to use and widely available.

Open Markets Program promotes awareness of political & economic dangers of consolidation, identifies changes in policy & law that cleared the way for it, and fosters discussion of potential actions to reestablish America’s political economy on a stable, fair foundation.

Media Mobilizing Project exists to build a media, education and organizing infrastructure that will cohere and amplify the growing movement to end poverty.

Open Technology Institute strengthens communities through grounded research, technological innovation, and policy reform.

Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University identifies the core strategic challenges facing the United States, designs world-changing responses to these challenges, and prepares a new generation of strategic leaders.

Tribal Digital Village addresses the lack of Internet access for its tribal communities, taking their wireless broadband network to the next level of support for its communities, the "tribal home".

Tactical Technology Collective advances the skills, tools and techniques of rights advocates, empowering them to use information and communications to help marginalised communities understand and effect progressive social, environmental and political change.