Privacy By Design For Everyone

About The Calyx Institute

About The Calyx Institute

The Calyx Institute's mission is to educate the public about privacy in digital communications and to develop tools that anyone can use to build "privacy by design" into their internet access. By developing encryption and anonymity tools that can help users maintain their privacy, we hope to make online security easier and more accessible for everyone online.

We are a non-profit education and research organization devoted to studying, testing and developing and implementing privacy technology and tools to promote free speech, free expression, civic engagement and privacy rights on the internet and in the mobile communications industry.

We believe that everyone deserves privacy and security online, regardless of their technological know-how. Many tools exist for encrypting online communications and keeping your data private. However, many people don't know that they need these tools or how to access them. The Calyx Institute will continue to develop these tools and educate the public on the best ways to use them, with the goal of making cybersecurity, privacy and freedom of expression accessible to everyone. Through research and development, legal advocacy and defense, and by distributing information and open source software as widely as possible for the benefit of the general public, in both democratic and repressive contexts, we hope to build a more free and accessible internet.

Our History

In 2010, Founder and Executive Director, Nicholas Merrill had to stress the importance of cyber privacy and security. He didn't mind. Merrill had just been partially un-gagged from a National Security Letter received from the FBI in 2004 as the owner of a small Internet Service Provider. It was the first Constitutional challenge filed against the USA Patriot Act statute. The experience prompted him to found The Calyx Institute to increase awareness about online privacy, surveillance and accessibility through software development, advocacy and outreach.

In seven years, working with a shoestring budget, we've set up our organizational structure including 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, assembled a stellar advisory panel, leading partner organizations, supporting foundations and a network of supporters. With our members' generous support, we've developed new technologies, improved access to online privacy tools, published and translated educational materials, trained journalists and activists, inspired and continued ongoing litigation, attended conferences and generated press coverage. Take a look!

What we do

The Calyx Institute is a technology non-profit with the mission of developing, testing and distributing free privacy software, as well as working to bridge the digital divide.

The Calyx Institute is member supported. Thanks to our members, we can develop cutting-edge Internet privacy services and make them widely available for free. Like a calyx opens to support a flower in bloom, our goal is to grow and expand, finding new and innovative ways to defend online privacy, security and accessibility.

Currently, we offer free VPN service at based on the incredibly ambitious LEAP open source project. Thanks to your support, we now plan to expand that offering to include their cloud-based client encrypted email solution as well.

Our Jabber instant messaging service began as an experiment, but surprised us all by growing into a very popular service with over 150,000 registered accounts! Find out more at

We host several Tor exit nodes that provide hundreds of megabits per second of Internet freedom to the Tor Project’s network. Thanks to the groundswell of support we are experiencing, we have been able to upgrade Calyx’s network from 1Gbit to 10Gbit! Tor is a lifeline for Internet freedom, especially in countries where government censorship is an issue. To learn more, visit