Fen Labalme

Chief Information Security Officer
Pittsburgh, PA

About Fen Labalme

Fen joined CivicActions as an Engineer in 2005. Bridging the gap between the technical and business aspects of projects, he has a hand in all stages of software development, from requirements gathering and analysis to specification, implementation, documentation and maintenance. Fen is a change-maker both at work and in the world community, constantly seeking solutions to make things work better — from software to social justice and beyond.

Having spent over twenty years at the leading edge of programming, networks, system architecture, and information technology, Fen combines his deep experience and inventive drive to bring valuable improvements to CivicActions teams, processes, and clients. His pivotal contributions include:

  • Developing tools to support process flow and empower distributed teams to collaborate
  • Implementing a public key management system for smooth transitions of team members
  • Co-authoring the CivicActions Security Policy to ensure the safe handling of client data
  • Adding automated testing into the tool chain for better system performance
  • Exploring the inclusion of security compliance as part of continuous integration

Fen has served many high-profile clients during his tenure at CivicActions, including Amnesty International, Buckminster Fuller Institute, Democracy Now!, the Grammys, Women’s Funding Network, CNU, Sedona, SACNAS, EJUSA, Smithsonian Institution, and FosterClub. He is currently implementing an automated compliance process as the Information System Security Officer (ISSO) for the U.S. Department of Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

Prior to joining CivicActions, Fen made many valuable contributions to his field through the founding of two companies (OpenPrivacy and Identity Commons) and his work on the Inter-Process Communication “socket” protocol with Bill Joy at Berkeley Systems Design. He also worked for General Magic and Oracle. As a student at M.I.T., he developed the first personalized “digital newspaper,” which resulted in a grant that helped launch the M.I.T. Media Lab.

Fen earned a combined Bachelors and Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was the founder and first president of the M.I.T. Ultimate Frisbee Club. He enjoys disc golf, mountain biking, photography, and watching his teenage son play hockey.


  • Drupal GovCon 2016 - Drupal Security and Compliance
  • Drupal GovCon 2015 - Security and Scanning – an Open Source Approach
  • DrupalCamp PA 2015 - Making Strong Security Easier
  • DevOpsDays DC 2015 - Consumer to Collaborator: Re-imaging the US Governments role in Open Source


Give Government Permission to Speak Freely

By Robert L. Read and Fen Labalme These ideas were generated at a CivicActions retreat, during an Open Space brainstorming session. As CivicActions is fiercely open, we are releasing these ideas to the public for anyone to use as they see fit. Transparent government requires open and frequent communication. Ideally, [...]

2017-03-31T06:19:53+00:00 Categories: Culture, Government|

CiviCRM and Drupal Commons

FosterClub, the national network for young people in foster care, is upgrading their Drupal 5 site to a Drupal 7/Commons distribution that includes CiviCRM as a backend 'database' for member tracking, event coordination, mailings and more.

2017-03-31T06:19:58+00:00 Categories: Drupal|Tags: |

CiviCRM Developer Training

CiviCRM is a powerful, free and open source (AGPL-licensed) web-based contact relationship management (CRM) system that focuses on the needs of non-profits. A growing number of CivicActions' clients employ CiviCRM to support membership and contribution management, events, group mailings and report generation. With every release, CiviCRM is adding features and [...]

2017-03-31T06:20:11+00:00 Categories: Development, Nonprofit|

Making the Credit Card CVV Field Optional in CiviCRM

We have a client that wanted to be able to process donations when the Credit Card's CVV numbers were not available. I had thought this field was mandatory, and indeed, CiviCRM's AuthorizeNet payment processor package requires it. But after talking with AuthorizeNet (the company) we discovered that the field is [...]

2017-03-31T06:20:12+00:00 Categories: Development|