Ryan Donald Lackey (born March 17, 1979) is an entrepreneur and computer security professional. He was a co-founder of HavenCo, the world's first data haven. He also speaks at numerous conferences and trade shows, including DEF CON, RSA Data Security Conference, on various topics in the computer security field, and has appeared on the cover of Wired Magazine, in numerous television, radio, and print articles on HavenCo and Sealand. Lackey operated BlueIraq, a VSAT communications and IT company serving the DoD and domestic markets in Iraq and Afghanistan during the US conflicts.
Lackey was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania and has also lived throughout the US and Europe, Anguilla, Sealand, Dubai, and Iraq. As a teenager, he was briefly involved with the Globewide Network Academy. Lackey attended MIT and majored in Course 18 (mathematics), one of the most difficult courses at the institute. While a student at MIT (he later dropped out due to financial constraints) Lackey became interested in electronic cash and distributed systems, originally for massively multiplayer online gaming. This interest led to attending several conferences (Financial Cryptography 98, various MIT presentations), participating on mailing lists such as "cypherpunks" and "dbs", and eventually implementing patented Chaumian digital cash in an underground library, HINDE, with Ian Goldberg, named after Hinde ten Berge, a Dutch cypherpunk also present at FC98. In part, he contributed to the cypherpunks movement as one of the longest Anonymous remailer operators.
In 1999 Lackey lived in the San Francisco Bay Area after a period in Anguilla before moving to the unrecognized state of Sealand off the coast of the United Kingdom and establishing HavenCo. In December 2002, he left HavenCo following a dispute with other company directors and the Sealand "Royal Family".
Eventually, BlueIraq's business model became economically unfeasible due to an escalation in anti-western violence primarily in the form of Improvised Explosive Devices and troop draw downs. BlueIraq sought venture capital to transform itself into a large general consumer cellular telephone company. However, the 2008 financial crisis and the instability of Iraq and Afghanistan made fund raising impossible.
Lackey returned to the US and located in San Francisco where he worked for a number of start-up companies before applying to Y Combinator. He was accepted into Y Combinator's Summer 2011 round. Lackey founded CryptoSeal, a VPN as a service start-up with a small group of people well known in the computer security community, and secured funding from Ron Conway and a well known venture capital fund.
- Williams, Alex. "CryptoSeal Offers VPN As A Service For All That Secure Data You Risk When Using The Coffee House Wi-Fi". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- Ryan Lackey's personal site
- Answers From Sealand: CTO Ryan Lackey Responds July 3, 2000
- Welcome to Sealand. Now Bugger Off July 2000
- Avi Freedman and Ryan Lackey gave a talk about HavenCo at H2K2 July 13, 2002
- DefCon 11 Talk about HavenCo August 3, 2003
- Has 'haven' for questionable sites sunk? August 4, 2003.
- Wiring the War Zone: Blue Iraq September 2005
- Blood, Bullets, Bombs, and Bandwidth 2005