San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is pleased to announce the distinguished winners of the 2015 Pioneer Awards: the late international privacy expert Caspar Bowden, the human rights and global security researchers at The Citizen Lab, international Internet access champions Anriette Esterhuysen and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and digital community advocate Kathy Sierra.
The award ceremony will be held the evening of September 24 at Delancey Street’s Town Hall in San Francisco. Tickets will be $125 for current EFF members, or $175 for non-members.
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 worked as an independent advocate for information privacy rights, advised the European Parliament, and served as a Tor board member.
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 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 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.
“This extraordinary group of winners have all focused on the users, striving to give everyone the access, power, community, and protection they need in order to create and participate in our digital world,” said EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn. “This group has worked tirelessly to bring to life a future where new technologies don’t compromise privacy or safety, or leave anyone behind. We are so proud to honor them with Pioneer Awards, and we’re deeply grateful for the work they’ve done.”
Awarded every year since 1992, EFF’s Pioneer Awards recognize the leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier. Previous honorees have included Aaron Swartz, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, Richard Stallman, and Anita Borg.
Sponsors of the 2015 Pioneer Awards include Adobe, Automattic, Facebook, No Starch Press, and O’Reilly Media.
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