About Us

Our Name

“Least Authority” is derived from “the principle of least authority” (PoLA) — also known in information security as “the principle of least privilege” or “the principle of minimal privilege” — a security best practice requiring system components to only have the privilege necessary to complete their intended function and not more. We further discuss PoLA in this blog post.

Our Mission

Least Authority is committed to building and supporting the development of usable technology solutions and ethical business practices to advance digital security and preserve privacy as a fundamental human right.

We uphold our mission by:

Our History

Least Authority was formed in the U.S. in 2011 to create freedom-compatible technologies. In 2016, the company relocated to Berlin with Liz Steininger as CEO / Managing Director. We are a small team who believe that privacy matters in Internet technology.

Meet the Team

Liz Steininger

CEO / MANAGING DIRECTOR

Before taking over as CEO, Liz spent over 15 years supporting the advancement of digital rights, access to information, freedom of expression and open source software as a Program and Project Manager, Strategist and Analyst.

Meejah

ENGINEERING / OPERATIONS

Author of txtorcon, core developer of Crossbar.io/Autobahn, and contributor to other open source projects such as Twisted and Tor. Meejah has 20 years of development experience in many fields.

Chris Wood

LEAD UI / UX DEVELOPER

Chris is a former academic philosopher with research and teaching interests focusing on issues relating to online privacy, censorship, and the ethics of design. A long-time Free Software advocate and hobbyist hacker, Chris is passionate about tools and technologies that empower ordinary people. He is the developer of Gridsync, a cross-platform graphical user interface for Tahoe-LAFS that aims to make secure and distributed cloud storage easy and accessible for everyone.

Jean-Paul Calderone

ENGINEERING / OPERATIONS

Jean-Paul has been programming for over twenty years and programming in Python for over fifteen. He is best known as a core developer on the Twisted project.

Ramakrishnan Muthukrishnan

SECURITY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Ramakrishnan (Ram) has been programming in the industry for about 19 years, mostly working with low level operating system software. He has worked in big and small companies and has been an active participant in the Free Software movement as a hobbyist.

Hind Kurhan

DIRECTOR OF SECURITY CONSULTING SERVICES

Hind started managing software design projects and program management after studying politics and economics. She eventually decided to pursue a career in human rights, humanitarian, and development work which would bring her back to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa – where she grew up. Her passion for human rights (including privacy, security, and freedom of speech) and her experience in management in the “tech” world lead Hind to pursuing opportunities in the data privacy and security world.

Jessie France

PROJECT MANAGER

Jessie joined Least Authority as a project manager and focuses her efforts on supporting security consulting projects and the operations infrastructure. She has a background in project, operation, and resource management in a variety of sectors.

Lauri Hmel

FINANCE / BUSINESS OPERATIONS

Lauri has a background in accounting and finance, and more than 20 years of experience in business. She works on finance, reporting, and business operations and development for Least Authority.

Tiffany Ou

DESIGNER

Tiffany has worked as a graphic designer for over 10 years, specializing in information architecture, brand identities, and multi-platform design and production. She has extensive experience working within start-ups as well as global corporate environments — covering a wide range of clientele industries, including technology, finance, hospitality, entertainment, and creative services.
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Abigail Garner

PROJECT MANAGER

Abigail joined Least Authority as a project manager for security audits and for projects supported by third-party funding to develop usable tools for human rights groups. She has a master’s degree in organizational leadership with a concentration in dispute resolution. Originally from Minnesota, she moved to Berlin in 2014 after four years of working with NGOs in the Middle East.

Dylan Lott

SECURITY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Dylan is a distributed systems engineer specializing in peer-to-peer networks. He previously worked at Storj building their DHT and overlay network. He works mostly in Go, JavaScript, and Python. He’s working on a database in his spare time and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jan Winkelmann

SECURITY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Jan’s interests lie in distributed systems and cryptography. As a software developer, he has worked on IPFS and currently works on Secure Scuttlebutt. As a student, he designed and analyzed key exchange protocols

Margherita Sgorbissa

PEOPLE / OFFICE COORDINATOR

Margherita has been working as office and people coordinator for the last four years and for different companies in Berlin. Graduating in the Gender Studies master at the HU Berlin, she is also involved in humanitarian and social projects with a focus on gender equality, intersectional feminism and womxn empowerment. She has joined Least Authority in 2019 to help making the workplace a great, organized and cozy space.

Mirco Richter

CRYPTOGRAPHY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Mirco is a mathematician and computer scientist living in Berlin. He has been working and conducting research in the Blockchain space since 2011 and mostly focuses on Cryptography and Consensus Algorithms.

Bryan White

SECURITY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Bryan has spent over a decade in software engineering / programming, while living in 4 countries across 3 continents. A maker / hacker in his spare time, Bryan likes to automate and improve every-day processes and experiences. In addition to being core contributor to storj.io / tardigrade.io, his skills include systems and network engineering. Passionate about free and open software, autonomy, and privacy, Bryan is always eager to learn new things.

Jehad Baeth

SECURITY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Jehad is a software engineer, an internet freedom enthusiast and an aspiring academic with a focus on information quality and data privacy and security. He has worked in a variety of companies adopting different Tech Stacks.

Sajith Sasidharan

SECURITY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Sajith has been programming for twenty years now, and has spent some of that time in small and large companies, academia, and public research labs. He is interested in the intersection of libre software and privacy/security technology.

Sylvia Blaho

TECHNICAL WRITER

Sylvia has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her background in academic research (PhD and post-doc in Formal Linguistics, Master’s in English) is complemented by over 10 years of experience in editing, typesetting and instructional design. As a Technical Writer, Sylvia has worked on security audits, product documentation, policy and process descriptions, newsletters, blog posts, tutorials and trainings.

Nathan Ginnever

SECURITY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Nathan is a software engineer with an undergraduate in pure mathematics. He has been developing Ethereum Solidity applications for 5 years and has experience in GPU programming, writing blockchain mining software, conjecturing on layer 2 scalability theory, and hacking on distributed file systems.

Allon Bar

DESIGN / USER RESEARCHER

Allon focuses on user experience, research and privacy. Prior to joining Least Authority, he was a design/user researcher with product-focused companies, and a research coordinator and human rights specialist with the Ranking Digital Rights project. In addition to having worked with the United Nations and NGOs around the world, Allon has engaged in international policymaking in U.S. Congress and at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Aviv

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Rai Yang

SECURITY RESEARCHER / ENGINEER

Rai is an open source technologist, developer and researcher. Passionate about decentralized and privacy technology and its impact on democratizing social and economic systems. Rai worked on and contributed to various blockchain projects including Ethereum 2.0/1.0, Libp2p, Livepeer and other research initiatives. He also built Raven, a network privacy protocol for blockchain and p2p message broadcasting.

Bjørn Ihler

WEB DEVELOPER

Bjørn has been developing and running websites and online communities for the past 15 years. As a technologist, he’s been focusing both on development for web and data analytics while also venturing into graphics and security. Ihler also works to counter radicalization into violent extremism, among others in his capacity as chair of the IAC of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism and as co-founder of the Khalifa Ihler Institute.