Dr. Ben-David is a social entrepreneur who works at the intersection of wireless networks, freedom enhancing technologies, and social development.
In 1984, while still in high-school, Yahel hacked the computers of a leading daily newspaper to publish a blistering critique of one of his teachers. While he got in trouble, this episode also paved the way for his career as an IT security expert.
Over the next 3 decades, Yahel accumulated diversified hands-on experience in leadership, design, deployment, and research of computer security and networks in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. In 1993 Yahel co-founded the Xpert group, a multinational IT security and network solutions firm. At Xpert he designed and led the technical setup for some of the world’s most advanced networks, managing large scale and complex projects for Fortune 500 companies and governments. Upon the sale of his Xpert group holdings in 1999, Yahel moved to Dharamsala in the Indian Himalayas, the headquarters of the Tibetan community in exile. There he founded the Tibetan Technology Center (TibTec) and AirJaldi. AirJaldi became an exemplary model for sustainable delivery of affordable broadband Internet services to rural communities, and continues to expand to this day.
Yahel holds a doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley, and continues his affiliation with Berkeley’s TIER (Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions) research group.
As the executive director of De Novo Group, Dr. Ben-David manages multi-million dollar projects which bring together world-renowned ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) researchers, and practitioners dedicated to bridging the digital divide and harnessing technology to increase civil liberties.
Yahel is passionate about connecting the next billion people to the Internet, while ensuring it remains uncensored and free.