SAN FRANCISCO—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is honored to announce that Alexandra Asanovna Elbakyan, Library Freedom Project, and Signal Foundation will receive the 2023 EFF Awards for their vital work in helping to ensure that technology supports freedom, justice, and innovation for all people.
The EFF Awards recognize specific and substantial technical, social, economic, or cultural contributions in diverse fields including journalism, art, digital access, legislation, tech development, and law.
Hosted by renowned science fiction author, activist, journalist, and EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow, the EFF Awards ceremony will start at 6:30 pm PT on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023 at the Regency Lodge, 1290 Sutter St. in San Francisco. Guests can register at https://eff.org/effawards. The ceremony will be recorded and video will be made available at a later date.
For the past 30 years, the EFF Awards—previously known as the Pioneer Awards—have recognized and honored key leaders in the fight for freedom and innovation online. Started when the internet was new, the Awards now reflect the fact that the online world has become both a necessity in modern life and a continually evolving set of tools for communication, organizing, creativity, and increasing human potential.
“The free flow of information and knowledge, as well as the privacy of our communications, are important pillars of an internet that advances freedom, justice, and innovation for all,” EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn said. “This year’s EFF Award winners are tireless champions for these values and are helping build a world in which everyone can learn and speak freely and securely. They are an inspiration to us, as well as to people around the globe. We are honored to give them our thanks and some small part of the recognition they deserve.”
Alexandra Asanovna Elbakyan — EFF Award for Access to Scientific Knowledge
Kazakhstani computer programmer Alexandra Asanovna Elbakyan founded Sci-Hub in 2011 to provide free and unrestricted access to all scientific knowledge. Launched as a tool for providing quick access to articles from scientific journals, Sci-Hub has grown a database of more than 88.3 million research articles and books freely accessible for anyone to read and download; much of this knowledge otherwise would be hidden behind paywalls. Sci-Hub is used by millions of students, researchers, medical professionals, journalists, inventors, and curious people all over the world, many of whom provide feedback saying they are grateful for this access to knowledge. Some medical professionals have said Sci-Hub helps save human lives; some students have said they wouldn't be able to complete their education without Sci-Hub's help. Through Sci-Hub, Elbakyan has strived to shatter academic publishing’s monopoly-like mechanisms in which publishers charge high prices even though authors of articles in academic journals receive no payment. She has been targeted by many lawsuits and government actions, and Sci-Hub is blocked in some countries, yet she still stands tall for the idea that restricting access to information and knowledge violates human rights.
Library Freedom Project — EFF Award for Information Democracy
Library Freedom Project is radically rethinking the library professional organization by creating a network of values-driven librarian-activists taking action together to build information democracy. LFP offers trainings, resources, and community building for librarians on issues of privacy, surveillance, intellectual freedom, labor rights, power, technology, and more—helping create safer, more private spaces for library patrons to feed their minds and express themselves. Their work is informed by a social justice, feminist, anti-racist approach, and they believe in the combined power of long-term collective organizing and short-term, immediate harm reduction.
Signal Foundation — EFF Award for Communications Privacy
Since 2013, with the release of the unified app and the game-changing Signal Protocol, Signal has set the bar for private digital communications. With its flagship product, Signal Messenger, Signal provides real communications privacy, offering easy-to-use technology that refuses the surveillance business model on which the tech industry is built. To ensure that the public doesn't have to take Signal's word for it, Signal publishes their code and documentation openly, and licenses their core privacy technology to allow others to add privacy to their own products. Signal is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, ensuring that investors and market pressure never provides an incentive to weaken privacy in the name of money and growth. This allows Signal to stand firm against growing international legislative pressure to weaken online privacy, making it clear that end-to-end encryption either works for everyone or is broken for everyone—there is no half measure.
To register for this event: https://eff.org/effawards
For past honorees: https://www.eff.org/awards/past-winners