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EFF Pioneer Awards 2015

EFF Pioneer Awards 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015
@ Delancey Street Town Hall
600 Embarcadero St.
San Francisco, California, 94107

6:00 p.m. Reception begins
7:45 p.m. Awards ceremony begins

On September 24 in San Francisco, we will be celebrating the work of the 2014 Pioneer Award winners. The celebration will include drinks, bytes, and excellent company.

We are thrilled to present awards to this year's winners:

Caspar Bowden
International Privacy Expert

The Citizen Lab
Global Human Rights and Security Researchers

Anriette Esterhuysen and the Association for Progressive Communications
International Internet Access Champions

Kathy Sierra
Digital Community Advocate

We're proud to host a conversation between journalist Kashmir Hill and whistleblower Edward Snowden, to be recorded prior to the ceremony and presented the evening of the event. Kashmir Hill is a senior editor at Fusion's Real Future and has reported extensively on the future's proliferating clashes with our present, with stories about the NSA's data center in Utah, law enforcement body cams, Bitcoin, and more. Edward Snowden is the whistleblower whose courageous disclosures about the NSA's mass surveillance programs spurred worldwide awareness and inspired renewed urgency in the fight for privacy and digital rights.

EFF established the Pioneer Awards in 1992 to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. Thank you to everyone who recommended people and organizations that have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications. This year's awardees will join an esteemed group of pioneers, including the late, visionary activist Aaron Swartz; open-source hardware pioneer Limor "Ladyada" Fried; and the documentarian and journalist Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, among many remarkable activists, entrepreneurs, public interest attorneys, and others.

Tickets to the reception and ceremony are $125 for current EFF members and $175 for non-members.

More about the 2015 Pioneer Award winners

Caspar Bowden

The late Caspar Bowden was a visionary and advocate for privacy, pressing for solutions to the greatest surveillance challenges of our generation long before others even saw the problem. In the 1990s, he worked within Britain’s Labour party, encouraging it to adopt an explicitly pro-encryption political platform. When the party backed down from that stance, Bowden co-founded the Foundation for Information Policy Research, which worked independently to fix the damage of Britain's new surveillance laws. For many years, Bowden was a chief privacy adviser at Microsoft. In that capacity he cautioned the company and others that the increasing use of “the cloud” would leave billions vulnerable to pervasive surveillance. He warned the world about the global dangers of corporate data collection, retention, and easily-abused American surveillance law. Before Bowden’s untimely death earlier this year, he was working as an independent advocate for information privacy rights, advised the European Parliament, and served as a Tor board member.

The Citizen Lab

The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research at the intersection of information and communication technologies, human rights, and global security. In recent years, it has become a powerful force in identifying and examining state-sponsored surveillance malware, drawing much needed public attention to the role that surveillance and malware technologies play in facilitating human rights abuses worldwide. Their groundbreaking and peer-reviewed research has put a spotlight on both the companies that sell the technologies and the governments that use these tools to facilitate repression. Citizen Lab has produced numerous independent reports on censorship and surveillance in popular social media platforms, instant messaging applications, and search engines. It has also refined network measurement methods for performing Internet-wide scans to “fingerprint” country-level installations of Internet filtering, deep packet inspection, and surveillance products. Founded in 2001, the Citizen Lab is a recipient of the 2014 MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, among many other awards.

Anriette Esterhuysen and the Association for Progressive Communications

Anriette Esterhuysen is the executive director of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), an international network working with information and communications technologies to support social justice and development around the world. APC’s 68 members in 46 countries—primarily in the global south—have pioneered access to email and online information tools for activists across the globe. APC’s women's rights program has been a leader in the use of technology for women’s empowerment, and its groundbreaking Internet Rights Charter has endeavored to keep human rights on the agenda in Internet policy at national, regional, and global levels. Prior to joining APC, Esterhuysen was a human rights activist in South Africa and helped establish email and Internet connectivity in Africa. She served on the Advisory Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Africa's African Information Society Initiative and was a member of the UN's Information and Communications Technologies Task Force. Esterhuysen was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2013, and she currently serves on the Global Commission on Internet Governance.

Kathy Sierra

Kathy Sierra has been teaching programming and interaction design since the late 1980s. She founded the award-winning developer community Javaranch in 1996, a site that went on to become the largest online programmer community for more than a decade. She designed the innovative Head First series of programming books, whose adoption of a broad array of teaching methods widened the range of computer users who learned to take full control of their devices, and included the longest-running technology best-seller on Amazon. Sierra’s work has focused on creating skillful users and building sustainable communities of those users, guiding people up the learning curve and advising on how to keep disagreements from sabotaging online groups. She was one of the first community leaders to address and describe in detail how to cultivate and navigate community growth: balancing clear rules with freedom of expression and privacy to support continuous learning. Sierra has devoted the last 20 years to urging others to create more humane software and online services, working to widen the digital world to a larger audience.

Special thanks to Adobe, Automattic, Facebook, No Starch Press, and O’Reilly Media for supporting EFF and the 2015 Pioneer Awards ceremony.

Get your tickets now! For more information about the Pioneer Awards, please contact

Past Pioneers

2014Trevor Paglen, Frank La Rue, Zoe Lofgren
2013Aaron Swartz, James Love, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras
2012:Andrew (bunnie) Huang, Jérémie Zimmerman, The Tor project
2011:Ron Wyden, Ian Goldberg, and
2010:Steven Aftergood, James Boyle, Pamela Jones and the Groklaw Website, and Hari Krishna Prasad Vemuru
2009:Limor "Ladyada" Fried, Harri Hursti, and Carl Malamud
2008:The Mozilla Foundation and its Chairman Mitchell Baker, Michael Geist, and Mark Klein
2007:Yochai Benkler, Cory Doctorow, and Bruce Schneier
2006:Craigslist, Gigi Sohn, and Jimmy Wales
2005:Mitch Kapor, Edward Felten, and Patrick Ball
2004:Kim Alexander, David Dill, and Aviel Rubin
2003:Amy Goodman, Eben Moglen, and David Sobel
2002:Jon Johansen and Writers of DeCSS, Dan Gillmor, and Beth Givens
2001:Bruce Ennis, Seth Finkelstein, and Stephanie Perrin
2000:"Librarians Everywhere", Tim Berners-Lee, and Phil Agre
1999:Jon Postel, Drazen Pantic, and Simon Davies
1998:Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, and Barbara Simons
1997:Hedy Lamarr, Johan Helsingius, and Marc Rotenberg
1996:Robert Metcalfe, Peter Neumann, and Shabbir Safdar and Matthew Blaze
1995:Philip Zimmermann, Anita Borg, and Willis Ware
1994:Ivan Sutherland, Bill Atkinson, Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz, Lee Felsenstein, and the WELL
1993:Paul Baran, Vinton Cerf, Ward Christensen, and Dave Hughes and the USENET software developers
1992:Douglas C. Engelbart, Robert Kahn, Jim Warren, Tom Jennings, and Andrzej Smereczynski

Photos from Past Pioneer Award Ceremonies

Ian Goldberg receing his award Malek Khadhraoui and Riadh Guerfali from Hardware hacker and 2009 award winner, Limor Freed (aka LadyAda), waits for the ceremony to begin. EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn interviews LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, at the 2009 Pioneer Award ceremony. Famed author Cory Doctorow awards 2010 winner Steven Aftergood. Hari Prasad receives his Pioneer Award in 2010. EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards EFF Pioneer Awards The 2007 EFF Pioneer Awards The 2007 EFF Pioneer Awards The 2007 EFF Pioneer Awards The 2007 EFF Pioneer Awards The 2007 EFF Pioneer Awards The 2007 EFF Pioneer Awards

Photos by Quinn Norton and Amber Wolf.

EFF Presents the 22nd Annual Pioneer Awards

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