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 , which works around the globe to strengthen communities by providing tools to build their own local communications infrastructures, and co-founded (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

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.

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.

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.

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..

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Organizational Partners

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

leverages technological and scientific progress for human rights advocacy and campaigning.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

identifies the core strategic challenges facing the United States, designs world-changing responses to these challenges, and prepares a new generation of strategic leaders.

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".

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.