Sascha Meinrath

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Sascha Meinrath
EducationYale University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
OccupationDirector, X-Lab & Palmer Chair in Telecommunications, Penn State University
EmployerPenn State University

Sascha Meinrath, an Internet freedom activist [1][2] holds the Palmer Chair in Telecommunications at Penn State University. He is the founder of X-Lab, a future-focused technology policy and innovation project, and promotes the "Internet in a Suitcase"[3][4] effort to create ad hoc mesh wireless technologies. Meinrath founded the Open Technology Institute[5] in 2008 and directed the Institute while also serving as Vice President of the New America Foundation. He is also the co-founder and executive director of the CUWiN Foundation, a non-profit launched in 2000 that aims to develop "decentralized, community-owned networks that foster democratic cultures and local content,"[6] and in 2007 founded the Open Source Wireless Coalition, "a global partnership of open source wireless integrators, researchers, implementors and companies dedicated to the development of open source, interoperable, low-cost wireless network technologies."[5] In 2012 he was elected as an Ashoka Global Fellow for leading support for Internet freedom in the United States and around the globe,[7] as well as named to Newsweek's Digital Power Index Top 100 influencers among other “public servants defining digital regulatory boundaries” for his efforts to develop open-source, low-cost community wireless networks and his role in fighting Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).[1] In 2013 Time named Meinrath to the TIME Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds in Tech for his work to protect Internet freedom.[8]

Education and career[edit]

Meinrath was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Yale University in 1997, and a Masters of Arts in Social-Ecological Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In 2004 Meinrath worked as a policy analyst for Free Press, a national media reform organization. In 2007 he moved to Washington, D.C., to become the Research Director of the Wireless Futures Program at the New America Foundation.[9]

Open Technology Institute[edit]

Meinrath launched the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation in 2008 to "serve as a hub of impartial research, open discourse, innovative fieldwork, and new tech development".[10] Although based in Washington, DC, staff extend to both coast of the United States as well as advisors and fellows in Europe. Major projects include Measurement Lab and Commotion Wireless. In naming Meinrath to the Digital Power Index Top 100 Influencers Newsweek highlighted the Open Technology Institute's efforts to develop open-source, low-cost community wireless networks, particularly in underserved areas.[1]

Measurement Lab[edit]

Together with Google and a wide range of academics, researchers and institutions, Meinrath launched Measurement Lab (M-Lab), an open, distributed server platform for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools founded in 2009. The project has grown to have 99 servers at two-dozen locations around the globe supporting a range of broadband and computer networking measurement tools.[11] The largest measurement platform of its kind in the world, Measurement Lab currently collects 500 Gigabytes of data daily.[citation needed] All the data collected by M-Lab is made available to the research community.

Commotion Wireless[edit]

Commotion, is an open source “device-as-infrastructure” communication platform that integrates users’ existing cell phones, Wi-Fi enabled computers, and other wireless-capable devices to create community- and metro-scale, peer-to-peer communications networks.[12] The project builds on existing mesh wireless technologies and gained widespread attention when, in 2011, the State Department announced funding for Commotion to lower barriers for building distributed communications networks. The project has been described as the "Internet in a Suitcase" by the New York Times."Internet in a Suitcase".[3] Community wireless networks have been deployed with local community organizations in communities such as Philadelphia, Detroit and Brooklyn in the United States as well as Dahanu and Dharamshala, India, and Somaliland, Ethiopia,[13] Additionally, Commotion was deployed with Occupy DC as well in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.[14][15]

Opposition to SOPA and PIPA[edit]

Meinrath and Issa at Internet Defense League DC Launch

Meinrath was a leading voice against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). He highlighted the human rights concerns raised by legislation including the likely collective punishment resulting from empowering law enforcement to take down an entire domain due to something posted on a single blog, as well as the implications for Internet freedom policies.[16] In naming Meinrath to their Digital Power Index Top 100 Influencers, Newsweek noted his role as “one of the more prominent Internet culture leaders” to fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act.[1] Following the defeat of SOPA and PIPA, Meinrath hosted the Washington, DC launch party for the Internet Defense League.[17]

International Summit for Community Wireless Networks[edit]

Meinrath hosts the regular International Summit for Community Wireless Networks (IS4CWN), a convening of leaders in community networks, mesh networking, and next-generation wireless technologies. The first summit was held in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois in 2004 launching the community wireless movement.[18] Past locations have also included St. Charles, Missouri, Washington, DC, and Vienna, Austria.[19] The eighth and most recent IS4CWN was held in October, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.


  • 2013: Sascha D. Meinrath, James Losy and Benjamin Lennett. Internet Freedom, Nuanced Digital Dividess, and the Internet Craftsman. Afterward. The Digital Divide: The internet and social inequality in international perspective. Eds. Massimo Ragnedda and Glenn W. Muscher. London and New York: Routeledge.
  • 2011: Sascha D. Meinrath, James Losey, and Victor Pickard. Digital Feudalism: Enclosures and Erasures from Digital Rights Management to the Digital Divide. The CommLaw Conspectus: Journal of Communications Law and Policy. Volume 19, Issue 2 (2011).
  • 2010. Sascha D. Meinrath and Victor Pickard. The Rise of the Intranet Era: Politics and Media in an Age of Communications (R)evolution. Chapter for Kevin Howley (Ed.), Globalization and Communicative Democracy: Community Media in the 21st Century, London: Sage Publications.
  • 2007. Sascha D. Meinrath and Victor Pickard. The New Network Neutrality: Criteria for Internet Freedom. Accepted for Publication: International Journal of Communications Law and Policy.
  • 2007. S. Bradner, k.c. claffy, and Sascha D. Meinrath. The (un)Economic Internet. IEEE Internet Computing. Vol. 11(3). Pages 53–58.
  • 2007 Sascha D. Meinrath and k.c. claffy. COMMONS Strategy Workshop Final Report: Cooperative Measurement and Modeling of Open Networked Systems.
  • 2006: Sascha Meinrath and Ben Scott. Community Internet: Why Should Arts and Culture Funders Care. Grantmakers in the Arts Reader.
  • 2003: Ben Scott and Sascha Meinrath. Media Reform Explodes onto American Political Scene. Public i. Vol. 3(10).


  1. ^ a b c d "Digital Power Index". Newsweek. June 24, 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  2. ^ Gustin, Sam (June 17, 2013). "TIME Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds in Tech". Time. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b James Glanz and John Markoff (June 12, 2011). "U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors". The New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  4. ^ King, Richie S. (July 26, 2011). "Building a Subversive Grassroots Network". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Sascha Meinrath". New America Foundation.
  6. ^ "CUWiN Core Staff". Archived from the original on 2007-04-20. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "Open Technology Institute Director Named Ashoka Global Fellow". Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  8. ^ Gustin, Sam (17 June 2013). "TIME Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds in Tech". Time. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Sascha Meinrath Named Research Director of New America Foundation's Wireless Future Program," New America Foundation (August 15, 2007)
  10. ^ "New America Foundation Launches Open Technology Institute". New America Foundation. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Measurement Lab About". Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ "Commotion Wireless". Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Open Technology Initiative: How Geeks, Wonks, & Field Operatives are Fighting to Transform Inside-the-Beltway Policy-Making". Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  14. ^ Singel, Ryan (12/15/11). "U.S.-Funded Internet Liberation Project Finds Perfect Test Site: Occupy D.C." Wired. Retrieved 21 January 2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. ^ Zandt, Deanna (11/10/2012). "What Sandy Has Taught Us About Technology, Relief and Resilience". Forbes. Retrieved 21 January 2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. ^ James Losey & Sascha Meinrath (December 8, 2011). "The Internet's Intolerable Acts". Slate Magazine. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  17. ^ "Sascha D. Meinrath discusses the Internet Defense League". Retrieved 21 January 2013. |first= missing |last= (help)
  18. ^ "POSTCARDS FROM THE BLEEDING EDGE". Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  19. ^ "National Summit for Community Wireless Networks to Explore the Future of Internet Access". Retrieved 21 January 2013.

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