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The Server Fights Back: Calyx Foundation Bakes in Security With Experiment

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, February 13 2014

Nick Merrill of the Calyx Institute

Secure communication online is possible; it’s still just really hard. Take for instance secure chat tools. Jabber (aka XMPP) is a chat protocol that has been a part of facebook chat and gchat over the years, but although it features a number of extensions that allow for encryption, there’s no guarantee they’ll get used, or that users will even know they exist. A server experiment by Nick Merrill at the Calyx Institute hints that the secret to greater adoption might be a matter of employing a behavioral insight enunciated by noted technology scholars DEVO in 1980: freedom of choice is what you got, freedom from choice is what you want. Read More

Nick Merrill Takes Privacy Fight from National Security Letters to Networks

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, August 16 2013

Nick Merrill at PopTech. By Thatcher Cook for PopTech.

Near the height of post 9-11 national paranoia in 2004, Nick Merrill received a National Security Letter from the FBI demanding client information from his company Calyx Internet Access. Merrill defied the information request and took the FBI and Justice Department to court. He lived under a gag order for six years, but eventually won in court, twice, forcing changes to the Patriot Act. Since he was freed to speak about his case in 2010 (he still isn’t allowed to discuss its specifics) he has taken his story on the road, speaking to hackers, civil libertarians, students, tech conference attendees, and anyone else who will listen. Read More