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Podcast Episode: Fighting Enshittification

EFF Pioneer Awards 2016

EFF Pioneer Awards 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
@ Delancey Street Town Hall
600 Embarcadero St.
San Francisco, California, 94107

6:00 p.m. Reception begins
7:45 p.m. Awards ceremony begins
9:00 p.m. Post-event mingling

On September 21, in San Francisco, we will be celebrating the work of the 2016 Pioneer Award winners: Malkia Cyril, Max Schrems, the authors of the “Keys Under Doormats," and California State Senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson (R-Alpine). The celebration will include drinks, bytes, and excellent company. Join us!

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

Malkia Cyril

Trailblazing Digital Rights Activist


Max Schrems

Tireless Data Protection Activist


Authors of Keys Under Doormats

Groundbreaking Encryption Researchers


Senators Mark Leno and Joel Anderson

CalECPA Champions

We are also happy to welcome this year’s keynote speaker, award-winning investigative journalist Julia Angwin, whose work on corporate invasions of privacy has uncovered the myriad ways companies collect and control personal information.


** Online ticket sales for this event have ended. However, tickets will be available at the door. **

Register now!
Tickets are $65 for current EFF members and $75 for general admission.

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. The awards celebrate those who have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications. Their contributions may be technical, social, legal, academic, economic, or cultural. This year’s Pioneers will join an esteemed group of past award winners that includes late visionary activist Aaron Swartz, Tunisian citizen media community, and open-source pioneer Limor "Ladyada" Fried, among many remarkable journalists, entrepreneurs, public interest attorneys, and others.

More about the 2016 Pioneer Award winners


Malkia Cyril

Malkia A. Cyril is the founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice and co-founder of the Media Action Grassroots Network, a national network of community-based organizations working to ensure racial and economic justice in a digital age. Cyril is one of few leaders of color in the movement for digital rights and freedom, and a leader in the Black Lives Matter Network—helping to bring important technical safeguards and surveillance countermeasures to people across the country who are fighting to reform systemic racism and violence in law enforcement. Cyril is also a prolific writer and public speaker on issues ranging from net neutrality to the communication rights of prisoners. Their comments have been featured in publications like Politico, Motherboard, and Essence Magazine, as well as three documentary films. Cyril is a Prime Movers fellow, a recipient of the 2012 Donald H. McGannon Award for work to advance the roles of women and people of color in the media reform movement, and won the 2015 Hugh Hefner 1st Amendment Award for framing net neutrality as a civil rights issue.

Max Schrems

Max Schrems is a data protection activist, lawyer, and author whose lawsuits over U.S. companies’ handling of European Union citizens’ personal information have changed the face of international data privacy. Since 2011 he has worked on the enforcement of EU data protection law, arguing that untargeted wholesale spying by the U.S. government on Internet communications undermines the EU’s strict data protection standards. One lawsuit that reached the European Court of Justice led to the invalidation of the “Safe Harbor” agreement between the U.S. and the EU, forcing governments around the world to grapple with the conflict between U.S. government surveillance practices and the privacy rights of citizens around the world. Another legal challenge is a class action lawsuit with more than 25,000 members currently pending at the Austrian Supreme Court. Schrems is also the founder of “Europe v Facebook,” a group that pushes for social media privacy reform at Facebook and other companies, calling for data collection minimization, opt-in policies instead of opt-outs, and transparency in data collection.

Keys Under Doormats

The “Keys Under Doormats” report has been central to grounding the current encryption debates in scientific realities. Published in July of 2015, it emerged just as calls to break encryption with “backdoors” or other access points for law enforcement were becoming pervasive in Congress, but before the issue came into the global spotlight with the FBI’s efforts against Apple earlier this year. “Keys Under Doormats” both reviews the underlying technical considerations of the earlier encryption debate of the 1990s and examines the modern systems realities, creating a compelling, comprehensive, and scientifically grounded argument to protect and extend the availability of encrypted digital information and communications. The authors of the report are all security experts, building the case that weakening encryption for surveillance purposes could never allow for any truly secure digital transactions. The “Keys Under Doormats” authors are Harold Abelson, Ross Anderson, Steven M. Bellovin, Josh Benaloh, Matt Blaze, Whitfield Diffie, John Gilmore, Matthew Green, Susan Landau, Peter G. Neumann, Ronald L. Rivest, Jeffrey I. Schiller, Bruce Schneier, Michael Specter, and Daniel J. Weitzner. Work on the report was coordinated by the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative.

Senators Mark Leno and Joel Anderson

CalECPA—the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act—is a landmark law that safeguards privacy and free speech rights. CalECPA requires that a California government entity gets a warrant to search electronic devices or compel access to any electronic information, like email, text messages, documents, metadata, and location information—whether stored on the electronic device itself or online in the “cloud.” CalECPA gave California the strongest digital privacy law in the nation and helps prevent abuses before they happen. In many states without this protection, police routinely claim the authority to search sensitive electronic information about who we are, where we go, and what we do—without a warrant. CalECPA was introduced by California State Senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson (R-Alpine), who both fought for years to get stronger digital privacy protections for Californians. Leno has been a champion of improved transportation, renewable energy, and equal rights for all, among many other issues. Anderson regularly works across party lines to protect consumer privacy in the digital world.

Special thanks to Airbnb, Dropbox, O'Reilly Media, No Starch Press, and Adobe for supporting EFF and the 2016 Pioneer Awards ceremony.

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

Past Pioneers

2015Caspar Bowden, The Citizen Lab, Anriette Esterhuysen and the Association for Progressive Communications, and Kathy Sierra
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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