About Us

The Berkeley Institute for Free Speech Online (BIFSO) was established in early 2011 to continue and broaden the work of the founder, who has been writing anti-censorship software since early 1996. While BIFSO currently focuses on updating and maintaining the popular open-source software known as CGIProxy, the ultimate goal is to support other anti-censorship software projects as well, and to engage in related research. BIFSO differs from other censorship-fighting organizations in its specific focus on software, rather than on legal, political, journalistic, or other aspects of censorship.

BIFSO is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations to BIFSO are tax-deductible.

James Marshall, Founder, Board Member, President, and Technical Director
Hayden Lilien, Chief Operations Officer

James Marshall, Founder, Board Member, President, and Technical Director
Elise Fried, Board Member and Treasurer
Ken Berman, Board Member
Brittan Heller, Board Member

James Marshall

Founder, Boardmember, President, and Technical Director

BIFSO's activities are largely a continuation of James' efforts developing CGIProxy since 1996. James has been deeply involved in the Internet since early 1990, having landed in Silicon Valley then with a job at an Internet software firm (The Wollongong Group).

In the mid-1990's, James played a small role in defining and developing the infrastructure of the Web: He worked on several Web-related RFCs (the technical standards that define the Internet), and he wrote the original tutorials on both HTTP and CGI, to help ensure that Web technology remains in the hands of everyone. Since then, James has spent most of his time working on CGIProxy.

Given the longevity of CGIProxy's development and the software's rigorous JavaScript support, this work has led James to be a leading technical expert on circumventing Web censorship.

James can be reached at james@bifso.org.

Hayden Lilien

Chief Operations Officer

Hayden Lilien is the Chief Operations Officer (COO). Prior to joining Berkeley Institute for Free Speech Online she was the Director of Finance and Administration at National Center for Youth Law, a nonprofit that uses the law to advocate for underprivileged youth. She also spent years providing financial, human resources, and operational support to charter schools all over California. Hayden started her career as a Staff Attorney with Wicker, Smith, O'Hara, McCoy, and Ford, P.A.

Alongside her position as COO she is also has a Family Mediation and Counseling practice. Hayden has a B.S. in Finance from University of Florida, a J.D./M.B.A. from Stetson University College of Law and two Mediation Certifications from Northern California Mediation Center and The Center for Understanding in Conflict.

Hayden can be reached at hayden@bifso.org

Elise Fried

Board Member and Treasurer

With degrees in international politics, humanitarian assistance, documentary filmmaking and anthropology, Elise uses skills gained over decades in the service of BIFSO's outreach, international dissemination, team partnering and fundraising.

She spent years researching topics relevant to BIFSO's stated goals, ultimately producing feature specials for DLF/WDR (Germany) on such topics as Media and Democracy, Privacy and Surveillance, Voting Systems and Democracy.

Her recent contact with formerly imprisoned, newly emigrated Iranian bloggers (in Berlin) confirms the importance of free communication in allowing for legitimate internal political pressure and debate. Along with Peter Kreysler, she won the Ernst Schneider Prize in 2001 (Germany's top award for economic journalism) for the piece "Brilliant Business", about the diamond trade's contribution to both civil war and democracy in Africa. She continues to participate in interdisciplinary think tanks.

Her curiosity, experience and many contacts in the journalistic, humanitarian and anthropological realms certainly aid in the achievement of BIFSO's stated goals.

Elise can be reached at elise@bifso.org

Ken Berman

Board Member

Ken Berman has been involved in the Internet Freedom community for over 15 years. As the founder of US Government's Internet Anti-censorship office at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (parent agency of Voice of America, Radio/TV Marti, Radio Free Asia) he advanced the cause of open access to citizens of countries whose governments severely restricted access of news, information, and human rights web sites. He served as Deputy Chief Information Office at the Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, for whom he still consults.

Brittan Heller

Board Member

Brittan Heller heads ADL’s Center for Technology and Society, based in Silicon Valley, to bring civil rights into the digital age. Brittan formerly served in the US Department of Justice, Human Rights and Special Prosecutions section, where she specialized in the intersection of human rights and technology. Before government service, Brittan practiced international human rights law overseas, where she built a law school in Kabul, Afghanistan, assisted North Korean refugees throughout Asia, and prosecuted the first cases at the International Criminal Court. During law school, Brittan spearheaded groundbreaking impact litigation to combat cyber-harassment and advocated for cyber civil rights. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School.