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. See a list of past winners.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

On September 14, in San Francisco, we will be celebrating the work of the 2017 Pioneer Award winners: Annie Game, Mike Masnick, and Chelsea Manning. The celebration will include drinks, bytes, and excellent company. Join us!

6:00 pm - 10:00 pm at Delancey Street Town Hall
600 Embarcadero St.
San Francisco, California, 94107
6:00 pm Reception begins
7:30 pm Awards ceremony begins
9:00 pm Post-event mingling

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

Annie Game
Defender of Global Free Expression

Mike Masnick
First Amendment Champion

Chelsea Manning
Renowned Whistleblower and Transparency Advocate

We are also thrilled to welcome this year’s keynote speaker, Ashley Nicole Black. Ashley is an Emmy-nominated comedy writer and correspondent for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Since joining the show, her unique take on policy, politics, and tech has helped make Full Frontal a hit among late-night political comedy. Ashley’s Mr. Robot-channeling crash course segment on government surveillance and encryption took her from Chris Soghoian’s office to a Crypto Harlem party, where she learned how to send secure messages with Signal while never once being offered a drink. Ashley grew up outside of Los Angeles, but it was while attending graduate school in Chicago at Northwestern University that Ashley first attended an improv class at The Second City.  She ended up dropping out of a PhD program to pursue a career in comedy. In 2016 she joined Full Frontal, where she has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards.

Register Now

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

More About the 2017 Pioneer Award Winners

Annie Game

Annie Game is Executive Director of IFEX, a global network of over 115 journalism and civil liberties organizations that defends and promotes freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. IFEX exposes threats to online free expression, focuses on bringing to justice those who harm or kill journalists, and advocates for the rights of media workers, women and LGBT journalists, citizen journalists, and activists. For over 10 years Annie has led IFEX’s efforts to free imprisoned journalists, defend online activists targeted by repressive regimes, provide tools for organizing successful campaigns advocating for free expression, and expose legislation aimed at quelling free speech. Under Annie’s leadership, IFEX has begun pairing more traditional free expression organizations with their more digitized counterparts with a focus on building organizational security capacities. Annie has been activist throughout her career in the NGO sector and is also a published writer and broadcaster of satire and humor.

Mike Masnick

Mike Masnick is the founder and editor of the popular and respected Techdirt blog and outspoken activist for digital rights, the First Amendment, and a free and open Internet. For 20 years Mike has explored the intersection of technology, policy, civil liberties, and economics, making Techdirt a must-read for its insightful and unvarnished analysis. He was a powerful voice in the fight against SOPA, and coined the term “The Streisand Effect.” Today Mike is in a fight for Techdirt’s survival—he and the weblog are targets of a $15 million libel lawsuit for publishing articles disputing claims of a man who says he invented email. The case pits Mike and Techdirt against the self-proclaimed email inventor and his lawyer, who, bankrolled by Peter Thiel, brought down Gawker. Mike has vowed to stand up for a free and independent press and fight this attempt to silence—or drive out of business—his blog for publishing First Amendment-protected opinions.

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea E. Manning is a network security expert, whistleblower, and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst whose disclosure of classified Iraq war documents exposed human rights abuses and corruption the government kept hidden from the public. While serving in Iraq, Chelsea worked to release hundreds of thousands of classified war and State Department files on the Internet, including a video depicting the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians and two Reuter reporters by U.S. troops. Chelsea’s conscience-driven leaks exposed critical information about U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and made it available online to journalists and citizens around the world, greatly contributing to public knowledge, understanding, and discussion of the government’s actions. While serving 7 years of an unprecedented 35-year sentence for leaking the high-profile documents, she became a prominent and vocal advocate for government transparency and transgender rights, both on Twitter and through her op-ed columns for The Guardian and The New York Times. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area, where she writes about technology, artificial intelligence, and human rights.

Special thanks to Airbnb and Ron Reed for supporting EFF and the 2017 Pioneer Awards ceremony. If you or your company are interested in learning more about sponsorship, please contact nicole@eff.org.