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Nicholas Merrill        

Founder of Calyx Internet Access and the Calyx Institute

Nicholas Merrill was the first person to challenge the National Security Letters provision in the USA PATRIOT Act in a court of law. He is the Executive Director of The Calyx Institute, a non-profit organization focused on promoting best practices with regards to privacy within the Telecommunications Industry.

He founded Calyx Internet Access Corporation in 1995. Calyx Internet Access was one of the first commercial Internet service providers operating in New York City and soon opened a sister company in Amsterdam. Calyx served many journalists, civil liberties groups and non-profit organizations on a pro bono or low-cost basis, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Independent Media Center ( and Democracy Now! Radio. Calyx also worked with for-profit businesses, including Mitsubishi Motors, IKEA, Snapple, and Tanqueray.

In 2004, after a request for information from the FBI, Calyx became involved with the ACLU in using the legal system and the media to resist illegal government requests for information on Internet users. For six and a half years, Merrill and the ACLU tirelessly challenged the orders contained in the letter, resulting in the establishment of two key legal precedents overturning aspects of the national security letter program.

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