Lance Cottrell

Chief Scientist, Passages

"Satisfaction is the path to stagnation. While working on open source anonymity tools in the early 1990s, it became obvious that the existing tools had clear and well-understood vulnerabilities, yet they were going unaddressed.

I took it upon myself to architect and implement an entirely new class of email anonymity tools called Mixmaster. By 1995, Mixmaster and other tools were highly effective and widely deployed but actively user hostile to any but the most technical person. I started Anonymizer to provide high-end security, which would be easily accessible to the least technical user.

I relish working closely with customers. Understanding their needs drives the direction of our innovation. Invention should not be about navel gazing, but addressing real needs.

I am constantly driven to solve the next problem, address the next threat, enable the next capability."

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Lance Cottrell founded Anonymizer in 1995, which was acquired by Ntrepid (then Abraxas) in 2008. Anonymizer’s technologies form the core of Ntrepid’s Internet misattribution and security products. As Chief Scientist, Lance continues to push the envelope with the new technologies and capabilities required to stay ahead of rapidly evolving threats.

Lance is a well-known expert on security, privacy, anonymity, misattribution and cryptography. He speaks frequently at conferences and in interviews. Lance is the principle author on multiple Internet anonymity and security technology patents. He started developing Internet anonymity tools in 1992 while pursuing a PhD. in physics, eventually leaving to work on those technologies full time.

Lance holds an M.S. in physics from the University of California, San Diego and a B.S. in physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has served on the advisory board of the UCSD Libraries and the American Public University IT Industry Advisory Council.

In his spare time Lance grows high-end pinot noir grapes in the Russian River Valley AVA.