Against Secret Court Orders To Internet Service Providers

CALYX logo
CALYX logo
Brandi Williams
Written by Brandi Williams

Grantee Project

USD $5,000

The context

Calyx Internet Access, founded by Nicholas Merrill, is the only internet service provider to have successfully challenged the United States National Security Letters secrecy requirement (gag-order) after a six year legal battle that ended in 2010. The Calyx Institute is a non-profit advocacy organization that was subsequently founded by Merrill to study and promote privacy technology and free speech on the Internet and mobile phones.

The project

This project, proposed by The Calyx Institute during our 2015-2016 grant cycle, aims to spread awareness of the dangers of secret court orders to activists, policy advisors, and anti-surveillance researchers, through:

  • Writing a brief for both activists and law-makers detailing the dangers of secret court orders and why they should be illegal. It will expand Calyx’s legal work outside of the United States, looking at jurisdictions such as Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Iceland, and Brazil.
  • Calyx will provide accounts on Calyx’s network infrastructure for activists to host their encrypted communications, including VPN access and email hosting.
  • They will continue outreach efforts to determine which other ISPs are resisting, or have received secret court orders on


Visit The Calyx Institute website.

About the author

Brandi Williams

Brandi Williams

Brandi Williams is the Partnership Coordinator for the Web We Want. She is in charge of membership and development for the Web We Want initiative, and coordinates relationships with the Web Foundation’s partners and funders.

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