Dr. A.M. Arnbak

Axel Arnbak was a researcher at the Institute for Information Law (University of Amsterdam) and a Research Affiliate at Harvard University’s Berkman Center. He worked on information security, privacy and communications freedoms. In 2013-14, Axel was a resident Research Fellow at the at Berkman Center and CITP, Princeton University. Axel now works as a lawyer at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and is also a columnist at the Dutch Financial Times. He blogs at Freedom to Tinker and speaks and writes regularly about technology, law, society and their continuously changing relationship.

Axel has published on a.o. HTTPS/TLS governance, cloud and network surveillance by intelligence agencies, communications security conceptualizations, data retention and mandatory blocking of The Pirate Bay. His publications and writings have spurred several parliamentary debates on the European and Dutch level; recently on internet surveillance by intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has been covered by a wide range of international media outlets, a.o. the Financial Times, CBS News, RT, Sud Deutsche and the Wall Street Journal.

In 2009, Axel was part of the core team that re-started Dutch digital rights organization Bits of Freedom. He campaigned for privacy and communications freedoms on both the Dutch and the EU level as part of European Digital Rights. In his two years at Bits of Freedom, Axel helped drafting and campaigning for a digital freedoms package that contains the first net neutrality law ever adopted in Europe, stopped mandatory website blocking in The Netherlands, organized several Big Brother Awards, lead numerous efforts against the EU Data Retention Directive and kept the Dutch government from storing all financial information of all its citizens in a national database for law enforcement purposes.

Axel was the recipient of the Internet Thesis Award 2009 and general University of Amsterdam Thesis Award 2010 for his Master’s thesis on the fundamental rights aspects of the EU Data Retention Directive and its Dutch implementation. Axel received his LL.B. degree from Leiden University (2007), a Competitive Strategy and Game Theory degree from the London School of Economics (2009) and chaired the VeerStichting foundation (2005-2006). He is a member of the supervisory board at the Stichting Admiraal van Kinsbergenfonds (not compensated).